Chris Watson – “Weather Report”

The weather has created and shaped all our habitats. Clearly it also has a profound and dynamic effect upon our lives and that of other animals. The three locations featured here all have moods and characters which are made tangible by the elements, and these periodic events are represented within by a form of time compression.

This is Chris’s first foray into composition using his location recordings of wildlife and habitats – previously he has been concerned with describing and revealing the special atmosphere of a place by site specific, untreated location recordings. For the first time here he constructs collages of sounds, which evolve from a series of recordings made at the specific locations over varying periods of time.

Released on Touch Records – the above is what Touch have to say about the album. Watson goes one step further than documentary recording and layers recording on recording resulting in three 18 minute suites. BAFTA Winner (The Life Of …) Chris Watson has here a great album – composed as a Field Recording Montage, this location specific recording is one of great beauty.

a4148335130_10The opening Track – at a massive eighteen minutes – is entitled Ol-Olool-O. It is a mix down of a fourteen hour drama in Kenya’s Masai Mara from 0500h – 1900h on Thursday 17th Oct. 2002. Whilst I cannot for the life of me recognise any of the animals featured in it there is a primal  rawness to the listen. However, the calibre of the recording itself is second to none – Chris Watson is one of the leading Field Recordists in the World – he makes a living from it, post Cabaret Voltaire – and he is one of the reasons I got in to the genre.

The second track on the album – The Lapaich – is another eighteen minute monster. This track is the music of a Scottish highland glen through autumn and into winter during the four months of September to December. A quiet poetry that chimed with me – I try and get up to rural Scotland at least once a year to visit my Gran in the Highlands – I have a great affinity to the place and this recording gave me reassurance that it must have been a good summer up there.

The third track on the album (a three track album) is called Vatnajkull – another eighteen minute track (you get your money’s worth here). This is the recording of the 10,000 year climatic journey of ice formed deep within this Icelandic glacier and it’s lingering flow into the Norwegian Sea. Vatnajkull is a glacier in the Skaftfell-Natioanal Park in Iceland. I will probably not make it to this location (or the location featured in the opening track) so it great to hear the genii locus transmitting, captured in a recording and preserved for time.

You can purchase the recording here.

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