Chris Watson - Oceanus Pacificus (7" Touch)
From Cabaret Voltaire to working with David Attenborough, what an adventurous life Chris has led. Like a sonic microscope on legs, it's his meticulous and detailed attention to the smallest of sounds that allow us to explore the world further.
In August 2008 Chris presented an exhibition of sounds that he recorded of the Humboldt current (huh?) around the Galapagos Islands. The smart so and so recorded the sounds 3 metres under the surface of the water. These 4-track recordings formed an installation where the natural rhythms built and swayed, with their harmonics. A drone of sorts but one that's more..... fluid. (ho! ho!)
As an off-shoot to the exhibition the Touch label released this 7" in an edition of 1000 as part of their 'Touch Seven' series (nice logo by the way.) The others being by People Like Us+Ergo Phizmiz, Jim O'Rourke (groan!), Mika Vainio, Oren Ambarchi, Fennesz (also with Philip Jeck and Charles Matthews) and AER. They're all very well pressed despite initial worries about them being the usual flimsy vinyl. Also both tracks are locked grooves. Nice touch. Or Nice 'Touch'.
Chris' single has the '3 metre' track on one side, and a far darker, and far more broody '10 metre' track on the other. Here be demons.
As ever, Jon Wozencroft provides the fabulous sea-blue tinted photography and layout for it. He maintains that beguiling simplicity of image that he's known for; one that reveals far more with time.
If you're interested in field recordings, there's an excellent Yahoo newsgroup called Phonography which is both active and informative. Whether you're a first timer or an old hand, they're very welcoming. What is most enjoyable about all this is that it trains you to listen to the ordinary every day things. Walking down the street, hearing the alarm of the lorry reversing, the (fucking) mobile phones going off, the claws of dogs on the pavement as they scamper by, the tree in the breeze, and 100 other things all at once. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming and you need silence or a simple uncluttered sound. Perhaps this is what Chris does, he goes far away to a place where there is an uncluttered sound and brings it back so we may here it in our sealed off rooms?
It's limited to 1000 copies. HM