Friday, 6 October 2017


4th - 10th June 2018

Chris Watson
Jez riley French 
and special guests inc. Heather Ross, Stephanie John, Leah Barclay +

i'm pleased to announce the first murmuration - a Scottish gathering of listeners in an area of stunning habitats from Munros (mountains over 3000 feet) to Lochs, rivers and glens.

The trip promises to be not only a rich source of inspiration, listening and recording possibilities but a chance to discuss and share knowledge around the subjects of located sound, acoustic ecology and contemporary sound practice in its varied forms.

cost: £795 per person
which includes 6 nights full board accommodation in Glenshee, on the edge of the Cairngorms
Monday 4th June to Sunday 10th June, 2018
to secure your place please email Jez here

(see below for booking terms & conditions)

The week is intended for those with some experience of working with located sound / field recording & other areas of experiential site-specific work as it will be in the format of a field trip / gathering rather than a series of formal, instructional steps for beginners. That said we of course welcome participants at all stages of experience and both Jez & Chris will be on hand throughout to offer guidance, support and deliver talks on various aspects of the act & art of listening. These will be scheduled on site to fit in with the weather and with the interests of those attending, but will include discussion of subjects such as:

. ambisonic recording

. extended field recording techniques (contact microphones, hydrophones, coils, ultrasonics, geophones & infrasound)

. sound diffusion

. the history of field recording & of contemporary sound practices (sound art, sound design, location sound)

. the ecological ear & environmental sonic concerns

. microphone & recorder choice / listening through the technology

. the psychology of listening

Apart from the always varied and interesting participants who will be coming from a wide range of sound based backgrounds Jez & Chris have extensive experience of located sound recording, sound art, sound ecology, sound design, response to locales and related areas, so whatever your connection to sound or a sense of place there will be plenty of information and ideas to share and explore. We’ll also be inviting some guests to join us, to assist, share their insights, give talks, share work and lead sound walks. full details will follow shortly.

Accommodation for this unique trip will be at Gulabin Lodge in Glenshee, Highland Perthshire. We have booked the entire site, including the house, to ensure we can come & go as we please at all hours.

As mentioned, the accommodation is fairly remote and so the nearest train station is either Pitlochry or Dundee, some 45 - 60 mins away by car. 
The nearest airports are Edinburgh and Aberdeen, both around 2hrs away or Glasgow which is 2hrs 15mins away.

once all places on the trip are filled we’ll email you all allowing you to connect with each other & discuss car sharing options, lifts to & from the station etc.

Accommodation is in shared rooms, most of which have between 2 and 9 beds. The lodge can sleep a total of 37 people however to ensure we have space to spread out and for a good group size places available for participants are limited to well below capacity. Bed lined is provided but you do need to bring your own towels.

We’ll have full catering consisting breakfast, packed lunches (or soup / sandwiches at the lodge if we’re not out & about) & evening meal. All dietary needs will be accommodated of course.


Monday 4th June: arrive after 3pm, with our evening meal planned for 7:30pm followed by an introductory meeting

Tues - Saturday: daily activities exploring the area + evening talks & playback / review sessions to be scheduled according to the good old Scottish weather - if its fine we’ll be out exploring no doubt !

Given the location & the wealth of environments nearby it is advised that participants have their own transport & are prepared to spend some time during the week working independently or in smaller groups. We will attempt to car share for exploring further afield once there & in the run up to the course we’ll connect all participants so that any car sharing / lifts to & from the accommodation can also be arranged. There are plenty of locations nearby, including several Munro’s & renowned walking routes, for those who want to explore on foot of course. Jez & Chris will of course be on hand to assist and guide people who wish to learn more about the techniques they use or simply to join in their explorations. 

some of the locations nearby include:

. 21 Munros within a 15 mile radius inc. Glas Maol, Tolmount, Cairnwell, Can a Gheoildh & Ben Gulabin

. Glenshee Glen , Glen Lochsie & Glen Tairneach

. The Cateran trail - a walking path used by 15th century cattle rustlers

. several Loch’s inc. Loch Vrotachan, Loch Beanie, Auchintaple Loch & Loch Muick

. Corrie Fee National Nature Reserve

. Mar Lodge Estate, home to BBC’s Winterwatch

. several water courses of various sizes inc. Allta Ghlinne Bhig, Alt Coolah & Shee water + small glen pools that should be rich with aquatic flora & fauna.

. during the week we’ll hold screenings of films with a strong connection to located sound including Emily Richardson’s ‘Cobra Mist’ (soundtrack by Chris Watson & Benedict Drew), Amanda Belantara’s ‘Sonotoki’ capturing simple moments of daily life in a Japanese village, Heather Ross' 'Domestic Dawn Chorus' & a rare UK screening of Christopher Thompson’s documentary ‘The New Wild’ on how human use of remote natural spaces is changing.

Sunday 10th June: depart after breakfast by 11am.

Gulabin Lodge also has on site mountain bike rental which is available for an additional charge payable directly to the lodge owners (£20 per day / £60 for 5 days).

We will be based some distance from the nearest town, Blairgowrie which is approx 35 mins by car, so it is advised that you arrive with any additional supplies you might need for the week, though i’m sure we’ll be making at least one trip to restock. 

Although we are going to be in a stunning part of Scotland we would advise that there might well be different sonic elements audible in some of our surroundings; walkers, flights overhead, road hum in the distance in some locations at certain times. Aspects of the reality of environmental sound will be discussed during the trip, including whether expectation might serve to separate us from the reality of a planet in constant flux.

Following the trip participants will be welcome to contribute recordings or pieces stemming from the trip to a special edition of Framework (Resonance FM) curated & compiled by Jez & Pheobe, along similar lines to the ‘a quiet position - orford ness’  edition, which can be found here: a quiet position - orford ness

Above all the trip will be a chance for us to gather together & spend several days listening, recording, sharing our experience and generally having a great time meeting good folks. So do join us & be part of this murmuration of listeners !

guest artists:

Stephanie Sartorio John

I am an artist and musician who creates sound installations and performances. I am interested in the sound of British industry, the sonic effects of the industrial revolution and the tension between humans and landscape.

I started working with field recordings whilst studying at the Royal College of Art where I found the act of listening and recording an effective way of counter-acting the digital image. I went on to spend time researching the sonic effects of the industrial revolution and as a result produced a quadrophonic sound installation made up of recordings taken at Trostre tinplate works in Wales. 

In more recent work I have become concerned with the privatisation of public space and the enclosures of the 18th & 19th centuries, and have just begun a project investigating the sounds of silk weaving. 

I’m looking forward to a week purely dedicated to the pursuit of listening. Such times always enrich and deepen my practise from a practical and conceptual view point.  I’m also very much looking forward to spending a week with fellow recordists/artists discussing sound and recording in  beautiful landscapes. 

Stephanie give an informal talk to the group about her work and present her piece ‘Steel Cymreig’ in quad surround. 

Heather Ross

Heather is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work often involves elements of sound, film and text related to place or situation. Amongst her widely exhibited films Heather’s ‘Domestic Dawn Chorus’ was most recently screened at the ‘Sound + Environment’ conference at Hull University.

Ross’s work is concerned with activating written and visual material, using a generative practice by which the subject in question can be re-thought and experienced sensorially. This process might involve, for example, translating a written description of sound or behaviour through performance to interrogate and generate meaning. Currently undertaking a PhD with Newcastle University, her research is focussed on Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbarn Wall (1947-48), situated within The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle. Her project aims to interrogate environmental, social and archival material relating to this structure and to generate new readings and experiences of it as an expanded, time- based artwork in the present.
Recent shows have included A Bird in the Head, Danielle Arnaud, London; All The Better To Hear You With, Merzbarn, Cumbria and Works For Air, Hanover Project, Preston. Heather recently completed a Heritage Lottery Funded project with artist, Lukas Hornby, to re-print the archive of Gwyneth Alban Davis and their publication The Caravan Press: Making Visible The Archive of Gwyneth Alban Davis was launched in September 2017. 
Heather has worked as a Lecturer in Fine Art at The University of Central Lancashire since 2015 and has previously taught at Chelsea College of Art (2016-17) and Grays School of Art, Aberdeen (2006-12).

-Statement about Domestic Dawn Chorus:

Domestic Dawn Chorus forms part of a larger body of work entitled On Being Out of Touch (2014-17). This project responded to feelings of alienation from the natural environment,  employing 'The Observer's Book of Birds' as a tool from which to mine descriptions, text and images for their interpretative possibilities. The film, Domestic Dawn Chorus operates from a distanced position - interrogating the birds through the portal of books which seek to describe or represent them. The work addresses knowledge and knowing as a process; encouraging the activation of information through finding equivalents in the everyday or familiar, drawing on memory and processing information through play.

Leah Barclay

Leah is an Australian sound artist, composer and researcher working at the intersection of art, science and technology. She specialises in electroacoustic music, acoustic ecology and emerging fields of biology exploring environmental patterns and changes through sound. Her work has been commissioned, performed and exhibited to wide acclaim internationally by organisations including Smithsonian Museum, UNESCO, Ear to the Earth, Al Gore’s Climate Reality and the IUCN. She composes complex sonic environments, immersive live performances and interactive installations that draw attention to changing climates and fragile ecosystems. She leads several large-scale research projects including Biosphere Soundscapes, an interdisciplinary venture exploring the changing soundscapes of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and River Listening, which examines the creative possibilities of aquatic ecoacoustics in collaboration with the Australian Rivers Institute. Leah’s diverse creative practice has resulted in a career where she works as a researcher, artist, curator and educator with various organisations and institutions. These include designing immersive education programs for UNESCO, directing large-scale interdisciplinary research projects for major universities across Australia and the USA and facilitating partnerships between communities, NGOs and government to explore creative approaches to climate action in remote and regional locations. Leah is the president of the Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology, the vice-president of the World Forum of Acoustic Ecology and serves on the board of a range of arts and environmental organisations. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre where she is leading a portfolio of research in acoustic ecology and climate change.

  • booking terms & conditions: you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £95 within 10 days of booking a place, with the balance due by January 31st 2018. In the event that you are no longer able to attend please let us know as soon as possible. If this is after you have paid the full amount you will be refunded minus the deposit & we will then try to find someone to fill your place. If you cancel within 6 weeks of the start of the trip (22/4/2018) or don’t inform us that you can’t attend we will be unable to return your payment unless a replacement can be found as the costs have been carefully calculated per space on the trip. Of course in the event of unforeseen circumstances we will do whatever we can to assist & try to ensure the best outcome for all.
  • for full terms & conditions please see the website here: