David Attenborough: My Life In Sound
In an exclusive interview for BBC Radio 4, David Attenborough talks to Chris Watson about his life in sound.
Monday 16 December
BBC Radio 4
One of Sir David's first jobs in natural history filmmaking was as a wildlife sound recordist. Recorded in Qatar, Sir David is with Chris Watson (a current wildlife sound recordist), and is there to make a film about a group of birds he is passionate about, The Bird of Paradise. It is in Qatar where the world’s largest captive breeding population is and it is in this setting Chris takes Sir David back to the 1950s and his early recording escapades, right through to today where Sir David narrates a series of Tweet Of The Days on Radio 4 across the Christmas and New Year period.
Presenter: Chris Watson
Producer: Julian Hector for the BBC
TO:95 | BJ Nilsen "Eye of the Microphone"
BJ Nilsen’s new album is now available to pre-order in the TouchShop. ‘Eye of the Microphone’ was recorded and mixed in London, 2012-13. You will receive a free download of Nilsen’s recent performance at Café Oto with this album, when purchased in the TouchShop. We are now taking advanced orders. Release date is December 16th.
Extended Digipak - 3 tracks - 43:19
Mastered By Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering
Artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft
2. Coins and Bones
3. Twenty Four Seven
BJ Nilsen (b,1975 Sweden) Is a sound and recording artist. His work is based on the sound of nature and its effect on humans. He primarily uses field recordings and electronic composition as a working method. He has worked for film, television, theatre, dance and as sound designer. His newest album presented here is “Eye Of The Microphone” [Touch # TO:95, 2013] - a somewhat surreal audio rendition of the sounds of The City of London. Currently also working on The Acoustic City, a book publication with CD, co-edited with Matthew Gandy, [2014, JOVIS Verlag, Berlin].
Recorded and Mixed in London 2012 – 2013
++ To stroll properly, one should not have any particular plans ++
In 2012 I received a scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust for a one-year Artist in Residency at the UCL Urban Laboratory in London, to introduce sound as an art practice to urban scholars and students. As part of my research I decided to dérive the city.
I spent full days and sometimes nights sweeping the streets and its interiors for sound - walking and listening with no route or intention. A city without sound does not exist. Every location, passageway, alley, road, park, and pub contains its own world of isolated sound events and patterns - the sound of a shopping bag caught by the wind on the asphalt of a busy street when a bus passes by. What seems to be merely a bus is also a cacophony of sounds, a sound world in itself: hydraulics, breaks, interior noise, honking, public announcements, humans, rolling bottles, cell phones, mp3 players. The rattle of an air-conditioning unit in an old pub toilet gradually develops its broken down sound over many years, creating a raga for it own demise. Nobody seems to hear it. Is it there? The choice of sound varies; it's a personal selection, some sounds made it into this composition, many hours of recording didn’t.
Sound composition can alter space and time and transform a specific location and experience into an imaginary world.
Touch Radio 100 | BJNilsen
19.11.13 - Bottomless Perfume - 33:00 - 320 kbps
So we pause where we began, with BJNilsen (see TouchRadio 1)...
Archival Recordings, Mixed in Berlin October 23, 2013, containing Bits and Pieces from:
Beachy Head, Eastbourne, England
Karl Marx Tomb, Highgate Cemetery, London, England
Whitstable Bay, Kent, England
CleanCar Berlin, Mitte, Germany
Temple Gas Works, Glasgow, Scotland
Fruitmarket City Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
Port of Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Carlsberg Brewery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Unknown Music School, Naples, Italy
Galleria Umberto, Naples, Italy
Barbed Wire, Todmorden, England
Side Street, Lisbon, Portugal
Tempelhof Airfield, Berlin, Germany
Cave, Durness, Scotland
Fishmarket, Via Tribunali, Naples, Italy
Hatún, Reykjavik, Iceland
The Jacobite Steam Train, Armadale, Scotland
London Olympic Rehearsal, Islington, London, England
Boleskine Cemetery, Scotland
Train Bridge, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers
Many congratulations to Chris Watson for winning the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers for 2013
Touch Presents... | Sohrab, Achim Mohne, Jiyeon Kim
UPDATE – Sohrab has been refused entry into the UK.
New line-ups for London dates:
BJNilsen and John Chantler added to Touch presents... line up at Café Oto on Friday 8th November 2013, and BJNilsen will also perform at Pelican on Saturday 9th November 2013. NB: Sohrab will still be performing at the Berlin date.
In November Touch presents a short series of concerts in London and Berlin, featuring performances by Sohrab, Achim Mohné and Jiyeon Kim – a triple bill of exploratory music with three artists each defining their own sonic territory. German artist Achim Mohné works across different media formats, blurring the edges between them and exploring unexpected uses of modern and outmoded technology. Sohrab is a Tehran born musician whose ambient works are both a product of his environment and a reaction against it. Korean sound artist Jiyeon Kim's experiments in resonance have led to an unconventional approach to field recording.
8th November 2013 | Touch presents… at Café Oto, London
Achim Mohné, BJNilsen, John Chantler
Sohrab & Jiyeon Kim
Café Oto, 8pm
9th November 2013 | Touch presents… Hidden Narratives of Empty Spaces at The Peckham Pelican, London
Sohrab Jiyeon Kim & Mike Harding
The Peckham Pelican, 7pm
12th November 2013 | Touch presents… at Ausland, Berlin
Achim Mohné, Sohrab & Jiyeon Kim
Touch Radio 99 | Simon Fisher Turner
20.10.13 - The Invisible Frame - 26:55 - 320 kbps
"I was invited to Berlin to record the filming process by the director, Cynthia Beatt, for ten days. I shot the sound as they filmed and every evening I made a new piece from the day's rushes. We went to many locations around the invisible wall and its remains. For about an hour I was allowed to wander unsupervised and recorded whatever I wanted. This recording is an edited version of the master."
Spire 5 | Marcus Davidson "The Passing"
2 tracks - FLAC Audio download - 18:31
Track listing and notes:
1. The Passing 9:14
Recorded at St. Stephan's Church, Mautern, Austria as part of Spire live at The Kontraste Festival, Krems, 11th October 2013.
Marcus Davidson - Organ & Electronics
EVP samples by Raymond Cass from "The Ghost Orchid - An Introduction to EVP" [PARC CD1]
NASA recording of the winds of Saturn from The Voyager Spacecraft
Natural VLF Radio Phenomena of the Magnetosphere and space weather recording by S.P. McGreevy
With thanks to Charles Matthews
2. Sacred Space 9:17
Recorded at PassionsKirche, Berlin, Germany as part of CTM12 Festival, 5th February 2012
Marcus Davidson - Electronics
Charles Matthews - Organ
Part one: Notations from the NASA recordings of the Rings of Uranus
Part two: The Sun dawning over the dark rings of Uranus
Touch presents... | Live in Lincoln Cathedral
Two World Premieres from Chris Watson + Hildur Guðnadóttir, and Anna von Hausswolff
19th October 2013, 7:30 - 9:30pm, Lincoln Cathedral
Touch is delighted to be invited back to play live in Lincoln Cathedral by Frequency, after the hugely successful 13th edition of Spire, which took place in the same space, in October 2011. You can purchase tickets here.
Chris Watson (field recordings) and Hildur Guðnadóttir (cello) will be collaborating on a brand new collaborative multi-channel sound work, titled “Sönghellir (The Cave of Song)” – a sound journey from under the waters of Faxafloi, Iceland, alongside some of the largest animals on the planet. Up, onto the lava beach, across the lava fields and reindeer moss to the foot of the snow mountain, Snaefellsnes. The journey continues up and then into the mountain, ending inside Sönghellir, the song cave…
On a clear day in Reykjavik, one can gaze northwest and see the shining Snaefellsjokull glacier, 60 miles away. Though the glacier is nowhere near in size to some of Iceland’s others, it is by far the most mysterious and popular. It rests near lands end on one of Iceland’s most beloved landscapes – the Snaefellsnes Peninsula – and its bright, mysterious beauty seems to embody the entire region. One of the reasons why Icelander’s love the Snaefellsnes Peninsula so much (aside from its enchanting landscape brimming with lava caves, waterfalls, and mineral hot springs) is that it is a veritable heartland of history. Some of the best and most important sagas took place here, and it is said that Christopher Columbus once spent a winter in Ingjaldsholl, where he heard stories of lands to the west.
Anna von Hausswolff, a Swedish singer, pianist and songwriter, will be performing a new score for the organ, titled “Källan”.
The Eternal Chord, an improvisational work from some of the artists present, will close the evening.
Phill Niblock is 80 | 2nd October 2013
Today is the great Phill Niblock's 80th birthday. We wish him all the very best. Its a huge honour to work with him. Happy birthday, Phill!!!
TO:91 | Phill Niblock "Touch Five"
2xCD Album - Jewel Case - 5 tracks
1. FeedCord Ear (featuring Arne Deforce)
[you can hear an extract here]
2. A Cage of Stars (featuring Rhodri Davies)
1. Two Lips (featuring Zwerg Guitar Quartet)
2. Two Lips (featuring Dither Guitar Quartet)
3. Two Lips (featuring Coh Da Quitar Quartet)
In October 2013 Phill Niblock will be 80…
Phill Niblock writes:
"These CDs include pieces made in two different ways. Traditionally (since 1968), I recorded tones played by an instrument (by an instrumentalist), arranging these single tones into mutli-layered settings, making thick textured drones, with many microtones. In the early days, I prescribed the microtones, tuning the instrumentalist, when I was using audio tape. Later, I used the software ProTools, and made the microtones as I made the pieces. FeedCorn Ear and A Cage of Stars were made this way. In 1998, Petr Kotik asked me to make a piece for orchestra, so, I began to make scores for the musicians to play from. The form of that piece, and the subsequent six scored works, were patterned after a piece in 1992-94, where the musicians were tuned by hearing tones played from a tape through headphones. These are the instructions for the scored piece on the second CD, Two Lips. The score was prepared by Bob Gilmore, from specific directions by me. TWO LIPS, aka Nameless, is conceived as two scores, A and B, to be played simultaneously, lasting 23 minutes. Each score consists of ten instrumental parts. The twenty separate parts should be distributed randomly amongst the musicians of the ensemble; the 'A group' and the 'B group' are not separated spatially."
TO:92 | Burkhard Stangl "Unfinished. For William Turner, painter."
CD Album - Jewel Case - 3 tracks
Design & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Premastering by Christian Fennesz
Mastering by Denis Blackham @ Skye
1. part 1 - Unfinished - mellow 33:39
part 2 - Unfinished - waiting
part 3 - Unfinished – longing
2. Unfinished - sailing 16:44 - [you can hear an extract here]
3. Unfinished - ending 2:55
"The sun is God" (The last words of painter, JMW Turner)
"Which side of the picture should be hung uppermost? - 2003, London: the first time I visited Tate Britain, Tate Gallery, and the first time I saw and really experienced the paintings of JMW Turner (1775-1851). Overwhelmed, especially by his late and unfinished works I was stunned by the power of the stillness of his work. 25 years before that something similar; me, as a young man in Madrid; Prado, Goya paintings and etchings - for me an initiation which opened up the door to earlier art and its pioneers. Like Goya one generation before him, Turner is one of those artists whose language was becoming radicalized in the high age. (In the field of music he is the contemporary of Beethoven.) His later paintings transcend light, full of poetic imagination, exquisite liquid calm. Free pure painting - nothing as light, air and water. When I left the exhibition, it was clear to me that this visit was the starting point for my musical approach to his paintings. Over the years, it was a pleasent challenge to get closer and closer to the painter’s complex simplicity, transforming the enigmatic atmospheres of his late and unfinshed works into personal tempting musical soundscapes." Burkhard Stangl, September 2013
#1 recorded live by Norbert Benesch at Porgy and Bess, Vienna, 4th January 2013
#2 recorded by Fennesz at Amann Studios, Vienna, 5th March 2013. First take, no edits, no cuts.
#3 recorded live by Philip Leitner, at Garnison7, Vienna, 18th June 2010
Burkhard Stangl: electric guitar and tapes (electronics and field recordings). Unfinished 1 (mellow) is based on Stangl’s composition for three zithers Mellow (My Feldman), dedicated to and played by Trio Greifer.
TO:88V | Mika Vainio & Joachim Nordwall "Monstrance"
Limited edition 2x45rpm vinyl version
Cut by Jason at Transition
Brainwashed wrote: "Monstrance is an intense, rumbling piece of jagged metal that, even in its lighter moments is unsettling and uncomfortable. But despite its iron trappings and serrated surges of noise, it is indisputably organic, a sensibility that is rarely associated with Vainio's output. It comes across as natural though, and results in this bleak, moody recording that excels in its darkness."
Anthology Film Archives | A Tour of Phill Niblock's Film Works
Phill Niblock's 80th birthday is to be celebrated at the end of September with screenings of his film works at New York's Anthology Film Archives. Details of his upcoming Touch release to follow soon…
28th September – 30th September 2013, Anthology Film Archives, NY
It is mindboggling that a man with the tireless energy and ceaseless touring schedule of Phill Niblock is about to turn 80. An internationally recognized artist with a wide body of music, film, photography, video, and computer works, Niblock has specialized in making intermedia performance since the mid-1960s. As a composer, he creates thick clouds of drones that are filled with surprisingly active microtones and timbres that generate many other tones in the performance space. During concerts of his music, Niblock simultaneously presents films/videos focused on the movement of people working, or computer-driven black-and-white abstract images floating through time. While Niblock is best known today as a minimalist composer, he actually started his artistic practice with film (and photography) – in fact, his first compositions were created to accompany his films.
Born in Indiana in 1933, he has been an artist/member of the vital Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York since 1968, and its Director since 1985. Over the years he has produced more than 1,000 performances at the EI loft in Soho, acted as curator of the innovative XI Records label, and launched a second EI space in Ghent, Belgium. Recordings of his music are available on the XI, Moikai, Mode, and Touch labels, and DVDs containing his films and music have been released on the Extreme and Die Schachtel labels.
This program provides a glimpse into the broad range of Niblock’s cinematic explorations, from rarely-presented early works to a selection of films from his well-known “Movement of People Working” series, which he usually shows at his concerts.
This 80th birthday tribute has been curated by Katherine Liberovskaya.
In St Cuthbert's Time | BBC Radio 4 "Saturday Live"
BBC Radio 4's "Saturday Live" this morning featured a package by John McCarthy, who travelled to Durham to see the Lindisfarne Gospels, on loan from the British Library for 3 months and on display as the centre piece of a major exhibition at Durham University’s Palace Green Library.
Chris Watson is featured in the piece, discussing his part in this project, which resulted in his latest CD, "In St Cuthbert's Time".
Listen again on the BBC iPlayer – the section featuring Chris commences 32m56s into the broadcast.
Diluvial | Beaconsfield, London 13th September 2013
Celebrating the launch of the album (CD, Touch # TO:87)
6pm 13 September 2013,
Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, London SE11 6AY
As the rain returns to London, join us for the launch of a collaboration between Bruce Gilbert, David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin.
According to this initial review from the Pinkflag site: "I purchased it from Touch as I like physical product, but also enjoyed being able to immediately download it. Remarkably different from what I was expecting. Not so harsh with considerable environmental field recordings thrown into the mix. While no rhythms are present, it is musical and sounds like what it is supposed to be: an allusion to the seven days of creation... a concept album. On my second listen and am finding it be perhaps Gilbert's most intelligent release ever. Remarkable, full, long (9-13 minute) soundscapes and nothing like any of his previous works. It is a collaboration and I gather the field recording aspects of it are attributable to BAW (Beaconsfield ArtWorks) while Gilbert scored it. In that regard, it reminds me of his soundtrack work for Downriver, only better. In fact this is so good, it is probably his best work to date. I really like the logic of it... each immense track evolves into the next (although there are distinct track separations). Quoting from the liner notes: "Taking rising sea levels as its them, Diluvial imagines the world before, during and after the next great flood, referring to an ancient, ex nihilo interpretation of global warming." [specotron]