Thursday, 29 November 2012

article on Chris Watson in the December 2012 issue of Music Tech magazine, in which he mentions & shows uses for JrF contact mics & hydrophones (thanks Chris !)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

the framework:seasonal series of fund-raising audio releases continues with a very special issue #3 – the great chris watson, who, we’re sure, needs no introduction amongst framework listeners, has donated a single-take, 2.5 hour field recording from the rainforests of borneo, recorded and published at its full length at higher-than-cd audio quality. this stunning recording has never before been released, and has been donated by the artist in support of framework radio. it is available only through framework, in exchange for your donation of €20 of more on the framework website.
each dvdr is slow burnt onto the highest quality taiyo yuden archival discs, and is hand-stamped with the custom-made image of a borneo-native mushroom, in keeping with the previous issues of the seasonal series. each is housed in an offset and folio printed sleeve from a local printing press, on paper from a local papermill, both here in the southeast estonian town of räpina. the insert as well is printed on additive-free paper from the räpina mill. these audio dvdr’s will play in any standard dvd player, or on any computer.
the details:
Sunrise in the Sukau rainforest
Recorded during October 2011 by the river Kinabatangen, Sabah, Borneo from 0430h
Sennheiser MKH 8040/30 middle and side array to a Nagra ARES Pll recorder at 48Khz 16 Bits .wav
The Sukau rainforest is a relatively narrow strip of primary forest either side of the banks of the river Kinabatangen in Sabah, Borneo. Access to the forest floor is very difficult as there are no trails, however at the back of the lodge where I was staying there was a narrow old and decaying boardwalk that led, snake like, through the dense undergrowth and out into what felt like another world. Each morning for over a week I left my lodge around 0400h and set off carefully along a zig zag pattern of soft and splintered planks into the velvet darkness. Either side of the red glow from my head torch fireflies and other unknown bioluminescent insects blinked and flashed their alien languages whilst dead ahead the small piercing red reflecting eyes of hunting bats streaked, missile like, directly towards me. On several mornings my GPS guided me to a favourite looping curve at the furthermost point of the 2Km trail where I could stop and fix my mikes in a tree whilst trying to bat off the myriad host of mosquitos that quickly find anything warm blooded that is stationary. I rigged and set away the recording before quietly moving off, my ears straining to hear the distant songs of gibbons, the shrieks of macaques and the low whistle of a pitta. Sunrise, such as it is 30m below the canopy, is also accompanied by the slow drip of  condensation percolating down through the grey green gloom from a canopy 30m above as the forest is slowly revealed. – Chris Watson

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

new release from spectrical, made entirely from recordings made with JrF contact mics i'm told:

Sunday, 18 November 2012

listening to the Tate....

early this year I was commission by the Tate to create a piece for headphones, due to be installed for one month in early 2013. The piece will feature surface vibrations of the Tate Modern building itself & this week I began making recordings on site.

during the day I collected recordings of the currently empty (of art work) turbine hall space & railings - the latter picking up not only visitors to the gallery but aspects of construction work around the building.

after closing I had permission to remain in the building overnight & record the empty spaces of each gallery, the turbine hall, newly opened tanks & further surface vibrations.  The experience of being in these spaces, alone, listening closely was quite something - giving me time to connect with the audible signatures. It does take time - to move from a pre-arranged  recording opportunity to finding the sounds, the experience of listening that goes beyond that, becomes connected to personal motivations.

By 11am the following morning my ears were full, for now. I’m not at all interested, in my own ‘work’, in the mere collection of sounds. What matters to me is the personal & the private connection to listening & to capturing moments, therefore to record is not always a matter of opportunity but of a meeting between that opportunity, ones feelings and the intuitive.

leaving the tate on this visit allowed me the ‘space’ to come away feeling satisfied, excited to listen back to the recordings I did make & still connected to the listening experience rather  than the recording one.

this is how I can work.

Later that day I gave a talk to the Association of Motion Picture Sound - a chance to meet some new folks & one or two who’d been on some of the field recording courses I tutor on & then, the next morning I met with Angus Carlyle, who was interviewing me for a book due to be published in 2013. We had a good chat about my work, for the book, & then sat outside the british library talking about our children and our personal connections to sound. On the train home I felt, as I often do, sensations of joy that I am able to spend some of my time listening, recording moments & talking with people who share a fascination with the audible. 

the inspiration is made up of life