Chris Watson - Weather Report
  Year :   2003
  Location :   England
  Worktype :   CD
  Materials:   -
  Info :   Touch

  Work Details  
  Chris Watsons third release for Touch sees him plunge into the depths of human subconciousness. Minute sounds are sometimes amplified and extended, forging a life of their own. The three tracks are audio documentaries which serve well to show what beauty our surroundings can create. Under a hazy, humid, insect-infested environment, Ol-Olool-O floats through lion grunts, boar squeals, and the sharp chattering of natives in the distance. Derived from a massive 14 hour recording session in Kenya, this opener made me sticky, hot, and uncomfortable. The persistent buzzing of mosquitoes pan from left to right, giving the feeling of sitting (and sizzling) in the middle of an exotic wildland. Ruffles from bird feathers, and bellowing of animals characterize much of the first piece. After getting all sweaty, Watson cools things off with The Lapaich, collected from sounds taken over four months spent on the Scottish highland. Here, soft droplets of river water soon morph into a raging torrent. The collage of running water and chirping birds makes for a tranquil listen, although its not as interesting as the first track. The Lapaich carries a damp and cold mood, possessing a kind of hidden intensity within. Unlike many other environmental artists, Watson feels no need to process or drastically change the original sounds of the recordings. He instead relies on the natural interactions between the weather and its inhabitants. There is an intimate prettiness to the pieces, each evolving over long stretches of time (eighteen minutes), allowing room for change and development to occur. It almost seems as if Watson deliberatly allows for events to unfold, gradually fleshing out the layers and textures to form a carefully sculpted audio journey. Despite the strengths of the first two pieces, the strongest track on Weather Report comes at the end. Vatnajokull, a slow but constantly changing affair, provides the perfect soundtrack for time. Low rumbles are heard, delicately laced over icy drones and echoes. Recorded in Iceland, Watson managed to perfectly capture the sounds of colossal glaciers shifting and gliding, creating deep and hollow reverberations. With Weather Report, Chris Watson has successfully presented an engaging sonic experience, combining numerous contrasting elements interplaying together to produce a tranquil tapestry of sound. While minimalistic at parts, most sections consist of massive layering of drones. Those expecting music in the traditional sense may be caught off guard, but I was completely blown away by this pensive, and, at times, unsettling recording. Clocking at just under an hour, Weather Report provides a perfect escape from the noise and clatter of everyday city life. [Kevin Chong] - Brainwashed - USA