Soundstage | BBC Radio 4 March 2015

BBC Radio 4, Mon- Fri, 23-27 March 2015, 13.45-14.00

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson narrates five immersive soundscapes; each of which is a time compression; a spectacular natural event which has been recorded over hours, days, weeks or even months but which is presented here in less than 15minutes.In the first programme, Chris visits the Kalahari Desert to capture the sounds of midnight at the oasis. Newcastle upon Tyne is the location of the second programme where Chris records a city soundscape following the changing character of St James’ Park and the neighbouring Leazes Park on match day. The thunder of wings as tens of thousands of birds are driven from the vast expanse of mud by the encroaching tide on The Wash is in sharp contrast to the quietness of the landscape at low tide which is captured in the third programme. Chris then travels to Antarctica and follows the extraordinary transformation as the Barne glacier calves. The series ends with a dawn chorus recorded in Suffolk, featuring a beautiful solo performance by a nightingale, a duet with a robin and a bewitching finale from a group of curlew as they fly overhead from the coastal marshes.

Narrator & Recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt

All episodes are available on BBC iPlayer


Martha – an Endling’s Tale | BBC Radio 4 |10th March 2015

Martha – an Endling’s Tale
BBC Radio 4, Tue 10 March 2015, 11.02am (rpt Mon 16 March at 21.02)

When Europeans arrived in America there were some 3-5 billion Passenger Pigeons. The last one, a bird named Martha died in captivity in 1914. A century on, wildlife filmmaker, writer and broadcaster, John Aitchison reflects on what lessons we have learned from the birds’ demise and explores the possibility of bringing the passenger pigeon back from extinction using genomic technology and a living relative, the band-tailed pigeon. It’s a fascinating and sobering journey. As John says when he comes face to face with Martha, “Extinction is a terrible thing”.

Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt


Tuning In – Listening Back in Time

Chris Watson & Tim Shaw
DECODED 1914-1918


Tuning In - Listening Back in Time is a reconstruction of time distant voices and personal accounts of events on Tyneside during the First World War. The work will be presented using period audio technology in a science and technology basement store...


An Evening of Silence | FuseArt, Bradford 28th January 2015

7pm Doors open

730pm Introduction by Mike Harding. Chris discusses his work on the film, Silence,
and plays uncut recordings he made for the movie on location in Berlin

815pm Break

830pm Screening of the film "Silence" (87 min)

10pm Questions and close...


The Diaries of Brett Westwood | BBC Radio 4 12-16 January 2015

The Diaries of Brett Westwood
BBC Radio 4
Mon – Fri, 12-16 January 2015, 13.45-14.00

Naturalist, writer and broadcaster Brett Westwood began a wildlife diary at the age of 15 about his ‘local patch’, an area of some 5 square miles near his home in Stourbridge. Some 40 years later, he’s still making notes and updating his records about the area. In this series, we join Brett as he returns to his local haunt and reflects on a lifetime of changes.

Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt


The Castle: A Portrait in Sound

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson's evocative and powerful sound portrait of Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.

Built in the 14th century as a piece of political theatre, the magnificent ruins have been reclaimed by nature. Swallows and rock doves nest in the gatehouse, kittiwakes and fulmars guard the sea walls, seals patrol the beaches and skylarks man the approach. The sounds of the sea, the wind and the waves are ever present.


Creative Award Winner | Resolution Magazine

Winners of the Creative Awards are Ed Harcourt, Robert Edwards, Chris Watson, Michael Narduzzo and ICP Studios, Belgium...


The Spirit Child | BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, Monday 27 October, 16.02

Paul Evans narrates a ghostly tale inspired by the true story of Alice Glaston who at eleven years old was the youngest person to be hung. She was hung from the gallows tree in Much Wenlock in Shropshire in 1545. When writer Paul Evans who was born here, later returned to live here and discovered the story of Alice Glaston from a passing reference in a local history book, he was both shocked and intrigued. The more he thought about the story, the more he felt a responsibility to tell the story as a way to free Alice's ghost. It is the landscape and its stories which have inspired this poem, and this landscape is powerfully evoked through sound recordings by Chris Watson.
Alice is played by Bettrys Jones. Producer: Sarah Blunt


The Foundlings Hospital Dawn Chorus | 25th September 2014

The Dawn Chorus installation will be live from Thursday 25 September until early January at the Foundling Museum.

Renowned wildlife sound recordist and 2014 Handel Fellow Chris Watson, and young care-leavers from London, recorded the sounds of the dawn chorus on the site of the original Foundling Hospital. Inspired by the genetic link today’s birds have with those that sang here for the eighteenth and nineteenth century foundlings, Watson’s installation links past and present through a poetic meditation on the spirit of place.

This piece was recorded in the green and residential areas that surround the Foundling Museum. Watson and his young team recorded throughout the night, ending the session on Sunday 4 May, International Dawn Chorus Day.


A new age of surround sound | Surrey University 16th October 2014

A new age of surround sound: spatial audio at the frontiers of contemporary art, technology and science

Professor Tony Myatt - Inaugural Lecture with special guest performer, Chris Watson

Prof Tony Myatt presents a lecture, illustrated with spatial audio demonstrations, about the concepts, art and practice of contemporary spatial audio. Tony will discuss loudspeaker technologies, recording, live performances and presentations, in the context of contemporary audio practice and will illustrate his unique methods of perceptually informed sound spatialisation, based on the creation of information-rich sound environments.

Following the lecture, Tony will be joined by one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, Chris Watson, to present a post-lecture, live, multi-spatial surround sound performance.

The event will conclude with a drinks reception. Free but ticketed...

To close your eyes was to lose yourself in a virtual environment of birds, church bells, foxes, distant road traffic and the ever present aural horizon of the sea. (The Guardian)


In Conversation...

Discussing the 'spirit of place' and the art of listening with BBC natural history sound-recordist Chris Watson, and environmental writer and musician Rob St John. Recorded live from Port Eliot Festival 2014 for The Nest Collective Hour on Resonance 104.4 FM

Listen here


Hrafn: Conversations with Odin

24 - 26 October 2014
Kielder Water & Forest Park, Northumberland

“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.” The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher

Hrafn: Conversations with Odin is a sound installation that presents the remarkable and seldom-heard phenomenon of ravens gathering to roost.

Set in Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland, the audience will be led at twilight on a short walk into the deepest part of the forest. Along the way their guides share ancient raven lore, the natural history of a talismanic creature, and the beginnings – and the future – of the forest they have entered. Participants settle down in the deepest part of the wood, and as darkness falls, they will hear the sounds of two thousand birds arriving in the canopy overhead to begin their conversations.

Hrafn: Conversations with Odin is composed by Chris Watson and produced by Iain Pate. It is commissioned through Jerwood Open Forest, a partnership between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England.

For full details and tickets, please visit

@HrafnRoost #JOF2014


Stepping into the Dark | Available as Download

Stepping into the Dark [TO:27D] is now available as high quality audio download. Originally released on compact disc in 1996, Chris's first album for Touch, the tracks are the atmospheres of "special places", recorded with the use of camouflaged microphones.

Many of the tracks will be used for the forthcoming iOS app, Nimbus, to be launched on September 10th in Brighton.


BBC Radio 4 | September 2014

BBC Radio 4 Mon – Fri, 1-5 September 2014, 14.45-15.00

In October 2013, wildlife cameraman and director Andrew Graham-Brown and assistant producer Ruth Peacey set sail for Antarctica to film the lives of a colony of Gentoo penguins for a BBC Natural World film. Every year Gentoo penguins return to Port Lockroy on the tiny Antarctic island of Goudier to find a mate and raise their young in the shadow of the world’s most southerly public Post Office. This is what the team hoped to film, but it proves to be one of the most challenging filming trips they have ever undertaken.

Presenter: wildlife cameraman Doug Allan
Additional wildlife sound recordings: Chris Watson
Producer: Sarah Blunt

BBC Radio 4, Sundays 7, 14 & 21 September 2014, 19.15-19.45

Nestled between the clipped hedges and the neatly mown lawn, the garden pond might seem a tranquil even rather dull place, but nothing could be further from the truth as revealed in this very funny series of tales from a highly sexed Dragonfly, a hotly pursued Water Boatman, a ferocious Diving Beetle, a Tadpole who doesn’t want to grow up, a timid Spider and a self-righteous Snail as the residents of the pond reveal the truth about life between the ripples.

Written and introduced by Lynne Truss.
Wildlife sound recordings by Chris Watson
Produced by Sarah Blunt


The Whale: an Exploration | 20th September 2014

10.30–18.00 20 September
National Maritime MuseumGround floorLecture Theatre
Fee: £10 | £7: Members and concessions
Event type: Lectures & talks

A unique day-long event of celebration and investigation, in the company of award-winning writers, artists, film-makers and specialists in cetacean studies and conservation.

Navigating the fluctuating human relationship with one of the ocean's most remarkable and threatened creatures, Philip Hoare (Leviathan, The Sea Inside), sound-recordist and composer Chris Watson (Life, Frozen Planet), former whaler and Greenpeace activist John Burton, Mark Carnall (Grant Museum, UCL) and other leading scientists join acclaimed artist film-maker Jessica Sarah Rinland for a multi-faceted voyage into the extraordinary world of the whale.

Taking place in the week of the International Whaling Commission’s biennial global meeting, the event will consider the challenges facing current whale populations while also tracking their energising presence in literature, film and music.

Curated and presented by Jessica Sarah Rinland and Gareth Evans.

Image: detail of: 'The Spermacaeti whale brought to Greenland Dock 1762'. Repro ID: PY3459. Copyright: NMM, Greenwich, London


Pick of the Week | 6:15pm Sunday 10th August 2014

Chris Watson presents Pick of the Week on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 10th August at 6:15pm

For further information -


Nimbus | September 2014

Free sonic paintbox app featuring Chris Watson’s sound recordings – available from September

Chris Watson has been working in collaboration with arts collective The Nimbus Group to create a new immersive sound painting app featuring Watson’s precise and stark sound recordings of the natural world.

Nimbus uses experimental approaches to transport users to places and experiences including: the inside of an animal carcass as it is being eaten, a Mozambique Nightjar singing on the banks of the Zambezi, and a family of elephants sleeping in grassland on the Massai Mara.

Nimbus will be available for free download from The Nimbus Group website from 10 September 2014.

You can read more here

The Wire


President of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society

The Society is proud and honoured to welcome the acclaimed wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson as its President. Chris is well-known across the world for his recordings which have featured in many natural history programmes on radio and television including the BBC’s series ‘Frozen Planet’ with David Attenborough which won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ (2012).


One Minute of Listening

Minute of Listening is an exciting and innovative project that has the potential to provide all primary-aged children with the opportunity to experience sixty seconds of creative listening each day of the school year. By downloading a simple application to their laptops, desktops or interactive whiteboards, teachers can bring a wealth of sonic resources into their classrooms.

For a full list of contributors:


Inside the Circle of Fire | Port Eliot Festival 24th - 27th July 2014

A sound map of Sheffield via its famous river systems and concluding in the Megatron

Full line up


The Acoustic City


The Acoustic City, edited by Matthew Gandy and BJ Nilsen.

This book is now for sale in the TouchShop, where you can find more information and track listing on the CD, including a track recorded by Chris Watson...

The Acoustic City consists of a series of cutting-edge essays on sound and the city accompanied by a specially commissioned CD with field recordings, compositions, and music. The book will comprise five thematic sections: sound mappings including cartographic and conceptual approaches to the representation and interpretation of soundscapes; sound cultures including specific associations between place, music and sound; acoustic flânerie and the recording of urban sounds (including bats, birds and urban nature) as well as reflections on the “auditory self” with links to cultural history and literary theory; acoustic ecology including relationships between architecture, sound, and urban design; and the politics of sound extending to human well-being, noise abatement, and the changing characteristics of ambient sound. This innovative essay collection will be of interest to a wide range of disciplines including architecture, cultural studies, geography, musicology and urban sociology.


Jerwood Open Forest

Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) and Chris Watson collaborating with producer Iain Pate have been awarded two major commissions totalling £60,000 through the inaugural Jerwood Open Forest initiative.

The announcement was made at Jerwood Space, London on 11 February 2014 by selector and artist, Tania Kovats. The selected proposals will be produced and realised within England’s Public Forest Estate, continuing a national conversation about how contemporary visual artists engage with the environment today.

To find out more about Jerwood Open Forest and follow the progress of the two winning commissions visit


Handel Fellow at the Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum has announced the appointment of the 2014 Foundling Fellows, joining the Fellowship in the 10th anniversary year of the Foundling Museum in London.

They are:

Artist Cornelia Parker, named as Hogarth Fellow
Poet Lemn Sissay, named as Coram Fellow
Musician and sound recordist Chris Watson, named as Handel Fellow

Each Fellow will undertake a project for the Museum with special relevance to children, inspired by the principles of philanthropy and creativity of the great founding figures of the original Foundling Hospital, Thomas Coram, William Hogarth, and George Frideric Handel.

Chris's project celebrates International Dawn Chorus day on 4 May 2014 and will see Chris work with young people to record the dawn and evening chorus of birds, as well as other sounds, in the local area around the Museum. His idea is to compare the sounds of today with the sounds of the Foundling Hospital estate in the 18th Century and we hope to find out if the wild and urban sounds the foundlings heard in then are different to today. The work will be edited and turned into a sound piece. The final piece is intended to be played on radio stations, including Resonance FM, and will be exhibited in the Introductory Gallery at the Museum.



“The Songs of the Sands in the Forest”- du 7/06 au 5/10/2014.

Vernissage le 7 juin 2014
Création sonore

Paysage sonore insolite, à la croisée de l’Afrique du Nord et de la Franche-Comté, l’installation de Chris Watson est à la fois écho et célébration des grands mouvements de populations et des migrations saisonnières. L’artiste à choisi de mixer des sons recueillis par le passé dans les montagnes de l’Atlas à ceux prélevés au printemps dans la forêt de Chaux lors de sa résidence, pour offrir une approche poétique du nomadisme, une mémoire sonore des hommes et des territoires traversés.

Une première en France!
Accès libre et places limitées!
Le 18 avril de 14h30 à 16h30


Slow University ll | Durham 11th March 2014


12:00 to 16:15, Lindisfarne Centre, St Aidan’s College, Durham

The second inter-disciplinary seminar in the SLOW University series is organised in collaboration between: the School of Applied Social Sciences, the Ustinov Seminar Series and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). The SLOW movement promotes a socio-cultural shift towards slowing down the pace of work, life and consumption and providing a counter narrative to processes of globalization. Chris Watson’s SLOW sound walks [in seminar one from palace Green to Ustinov College] enabled a slowing down and tuning in to the signature sounds of the spaces and places along the route.

It is clear that these lines of thinking, dialogue and creative application are gathering momentum. The purpose of the second seminar on the SLOW University at Durham [that will then travel to other collaborating Universities] is to harness these dialogues and ask - What does it mean if we take a look at the University and our relationship to as academics and researchers in relation to time, speed and SLOW? What new philosophies, practices, structures and governance might emerge?


Cryptic Night, Glasgow | March 6th 2014

Mirror Lands is a film and sound installation exploring diverse relationships to place on The Black Isle in the Highlands of Scotland.

Venue: CCA, Glasgow

Date: 7 - 9 March, 2014

Time: Friday - Saturday: 11-6pm Sunday: 12-6pm

Thursday 6 March / 20.00 / £5 / Screening and Q&A with Cathy Lane and Chris Watson

Installation: Free

Booking: Book Tickets here


Hy Brasil | Opera North, Leeds 28th Feb - 15th March

The isle is full of noises

Howard Assembly Room, Opera North, Leeds
Friday 28 February to Saturday 15 March
2pm - 8pm (runs on a 30 minute loop)
Open to the public Tuesdays - Saturdays

Hy Brasil is a mysterious, enchanted island, hidden in fog somewhere off the coast of Ireland. It reveals itself to human eye and ear just one day every seven years. This specially commissioned work by sound artist Chris Watson (BBC TV’s award-winning Frozen Planet), brings that day on Hy Brasil to life in an immersive sound installation.

Hy Brasil is composed of 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.

Supported by the Opera North Future Fund, The Emerald Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Audio equipment supported by Pro Audio


Watch | The Sage, Gateshead 16th March 2014

Dunstanburgh Diamonds

This new commission by Chris Watson captures the voices and rhythms locked inside the Dunstanburgh Diamonds, presenting an ambisonic soundscape of Embleton Bay, from Low Newton to Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland. These ancient black dolerite stones are part of the Great Whin Sill, which lies exposed along parts of the coast whilst the surrounding landscape has been eroded around it. Countless tides have shaped the Whin Sill into smooth boulders that murmur, groan and growl with each passing ebb and flow. This new composition extracts the spirit of historic events and memories that have been stored in the stones for generations.

This event is part of the Digging for Sound weekends of new commissions, concerts and walks focusing on the geology, topography and mining legacy of the North East England landscape.

(See entry below for details)


Searching for Diamonds | AV Festival March 2014

These sound walks with Chris Watson explore the particular sounds stored along Embleton Bay, which have informed his new Festival commission. The guided walks will begin at Low Newton and end at Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.

The new commission captures the voices and rhythms locked inside the Dunstanburgh Diamonds, from Low Newton to Dunstanburgh Castle. These ancient black dolerite stones are part of the Great Whin Sill, which lies exposed along parts of the coast whilst the surrounding landscape has been eroded around it. Countless tides have shaped the Whin Sill into smooth boulders that murmur, groan and growl with each passing ebb and flow. The new composition extracts the spirit of historic events and memories that have been stored in the stones for generations.

This event is part of their Digging for Sound weekends of new commissions, concerts and walks focusing on the geology, topography and mining legacy of the North East England landscape.

£5, limited capacity
Sat 15 March and Sat 22 March 2014
Sat 15 March 2014, 9am
Sat 22 March 2014, 9am

Low Newton Carpark
Meet at car park at
Low Newton-By-The-Sea
Northumberland NE66


University of Glasgow Concert Hall | Glasgow 11th February 2014

PULSE and The University of Glasgow present Chris Watson, who will be performing "Songs from the Silverbank"

Tuesday 11 February 2014, 7.30pm
University of Glasgow Concert Hall

7:30pm Q&A with Mike Harding (including audience questions)
8:30pm Break
8:45pm "Songs from the Silverbank"
9:30 Finish

You can read an article in the Glasgow Herald


Chris Watson Newsletter and Twitter

You can sign up for an occasional Chris Watson newsletter by emailing here

This is not a contact email address, so please don't put messages in the body of the email. Thank you.

and you can follow Chris on Twitter: @chrisrwatson


Wildeye Sound Recording Courses

Several times a year, Chris leads sound recording courses organised by Wildeye, a UK-based company which specialises in wildlife film-making processes, including sound recording.

The courses have recently been extended to include overseas destinations, including France, Sweden and Iceland, but they take place twice a year in Norfolk, on the east coast of England. The courses are almost always over-subscribed, so it is recommended that you sign up to their newsletter...


Biography & Photos

Continue reading: Biography & Photos


Touch & TouchRadio | Publishing & Licensing

Chris Watson is exclusively published by Touch Music [MCPS]. His work is also released on Touch, one of the most influential independent labels based in the UK [founded 1981/2].

Chris has contributed 3 pieces to TouchRadio, which are detailed below...

Continue reading: Touch & TouchRadio | Publishing & Licensing


Discography and Reviews

Here are Chris Watson's releases with the titles linked to the relevent page in the TouchShop. You can read reviews about his releases here:

In St Cuthbert's Time
El Tren Fantasma
Oceanus Pacificus
Number One
Weather Report
Star Switch On
Outside the Circle of Fire
Stepping into the Dark

Continue reading: Discography and Reviews



Here you can view archive videos and download various tracks, including contributions to the Touch Samplers which are now out of print - note: please open in a separate tab by right-clicking or control clicking the link

Continue reading: Downloads


TV & Radio Work

Chris Watson records for and makes programmes for BBC Radio 4 for the Natural History Unit, based in Bristol, England.

Continue reading: TV & Radio Work


Installations & Academic or Other Public Works

http://www.touch33.netChris Watson, (sometimes with the assistance of Mike Harding from Touch) also gives talks, workshops and demonstrations of his work. Together they established a course at the Royal College of Art in Stockholm, have lectured widely in the UK, Belgium, Norway and many other places.

Continue reading: Installations & Academic or Other Public Works


Film, Theatre & Other Media

Chris's recordings have been used in other media too.

Feature Films include The Constant Gardener [2005]

Theatre Productions include Red Ladies by The Clod Ensemble [2008]

Playstation Games versions of the Harry Potter film series

Album Tracks including 'Illuminant' by Efterklang [Leaf, 2007]

Continue reading: Film, Theatre & Other Media


Features & Press Coverage


Reviews of CDs and other releases can be found in the main Touch review section, which can be found here

Continue reading: Features & Press Coverage


Weather Report named in The Guardian's 1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die List | 22.11.07

'Weather Report' is named in The Guardian's '1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die' List...

Chris Watson
Weather Report (2003)

Watson is one of the world's leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, and here he edits his field recordings into a filmic narrative. The unearthly groaning of ice in an Icelandic glacier is a classic example of, in Watson's words, putting a microphone where you can't put your ears.

You can buy this album in the TouchShop