Tag Archives: bbc 4

A Life in Sound: Chris Watson

Access an archive of BBC programmes featuring Chris Watson.



Lots of fantastic programmes in there including Hy-Brasil the fantastical island which is the focus of his upcoming exhibition in Leeds, The Island of Secrets- ‘a haunting sound portrait of Orford Ness in Suffolk’- and The Station– a study of the acoustic environment in and below Newcastle train station.




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Sonic Wonderlands and the new year

A new term is starting and the Acoustic Ecology module for third year undergraduates is over.



On BBC 4 this week, Start the Week featured composer Sir Peter Davis, audio engineer Trevor Cox, psychologist Victoria Williamson, and film maker Waldemar Januszczak.

Click here to listen

Sonic wonderland

Tom Sutcliffe talks to the celebrated composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies on the eve of the premier of his tenth symphony. His latest work creates a musical structure based on architectural proportions, inspired by the 17th century architect Francesco Borromini. Waldemar Januszczak turns to the 18th century and Rococo for his inspiration, and looks at how this artistic movement spread from painting and interior design, to music and theatre. The environment, both built and natural, is key to Trevor Cox’s study of sound as he listens intently to the cacophony around us. While the psychologist Victoria Williamson explores our relationship with music, including why we’re prone to earworms, certain rhythms repeating endlessly in our heads.

What a great start to the week!

Trevor Cox has written a new book titled Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound. By way of fantastic sonic phenomena around the world he urges us to become better listeners by paying attention to the cacophony around us. See this review in The Guardian

His blog (click here or the picture above) is a great resource and dabble into his work as an acoustic engineer. Indeed in his professional work he must filter out unwanted sounds and construct almost artificial acoustic environments, devoid of natural cause. Sonic Wonderland focuses on the acoustic environments spaces around the world that are so unique and wondrous that it would be wrong to filter them away.

His WordPress blog features regular updates and his recent post An acoustic analysis of the world’s ‘longest echo’  is a little insight into the features of the book.


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Chris Watson Week pt. 03

The Station


[Image: BBC]

The Station, broadcasted on Wednesday 09 October 2013, is a soundscape composition that captures the psyche of a place by way of it’s acoustic character and history.Only 24 hours in Newcastle Station, as Chris explores, is full of soundmarks that are recognised by the people who work in and use the station on a regular basis.

It is a great piece and includes narration from Chris Watson. Not only is this a good example of acoustic ecology it is also a fantastic narrative piece that cinematically represents a journey and explorations. Technology and doing allow us to make these.

The sound recordist Chris Watson, regularly travels to and from this station and became fascinated by the sounds and acoustics of the building, so when he was granted permission to record inside, he leapt at the chance, visiting at various times during both day and night over several months, to capture the sounds within; from the quiet crackle of the overhead wires on a misty dawn morning to the terrifying roar and clamour of footballs fans and police dogs when Newcastle were playing at home to Sunderland, and the chanting voices and shouts of the fans overwhelmed even the sounds of the trains.

More tomorrow!

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