Chris Watson is a sound recordist best known for capturing the beautiful and often unusual sounds of our natural environment, they range from animals to the sound of groaning glaciers. The chances are that you have already heard his work on BBC wildlife documentaries such as The Frozen Planet. I only became aware of who he was after hearing an abstract recording he’d made using hydrophones. He’d travelled on an Antonov twin-jet to the Arctic, 89 degrees North, where the landscape was a borderless white-out. The recording he made was from 2 metres below the ice, the sound of the Arctic ocean and the polar currents was one of the most strange and calming sounds I’d heard and I used it introduce and conclude a mix of music called Northern Latitudes (below). The attraction of the abstract is long running affair for Chris who was a founding member of Sheffield’s Dadaist art-rock band Cabaret Voltaire.
His latest installation presented by Opera North is the focus not of the real world but of the mythical. Hy Brasil is phantom island, one which legend has it lies off the west coast of Ireland which is cloaked in mist, except for one day each seven years, when it becomes visible but still cannot be reached.
Chris recreates the mythical landscape using compelling wildlife sounds from around the world, drawing visitors deep into the haunting song of seals and the awe-inspiring shrieks of thousands of Manx shearwaters. With glorious ambi-sonic sound and beautiful lighting, lose yourself in the strange and magical world of Hy Brasil.
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Howard Assembly Room (Leeds) 28th Feb – 15th Mar 2014 2:00pm
Tickets and more info