A new installation by Chris Watson premiered at the Howard Assembly Room for Opera North in Leeds at the end of February 2014, marking the opening of his latest sonic sculpture.
Recorded in remote locations around the world, including the Galapagos Islands and Iceland, ‘Hy Brasil’ celebrates the mythical island of the same name. The performance transports visitors to the island through a rich auditory experience, which includes the sounds of indigenous fauna as well as the natural land and seascape.
Watson is one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena and who works in many fields including film and broadcast, notably with Sir David Attenborough on the ‘Life’ and ‘Frozen Planet’ series. Pro Audio Systems have provided the technical support for several of his previous works, and this project saw them again mobilising part of their large Meyer Sound hire inventory.
The 20-minute performance made excellent use of the natural acoustics of the Howard Assembly Room, and used 12 Meyer Sound UPJ-1Ps (eight located around the room and four suspended above the performance area), four UPM-1Ps (arranged in an inner circle on the floor) and four USW-1P subwoofers. The whole system was controlled from an Apple Mac Mini running a bespoke programme created by sound designer Tony Myatt. This controls two MOTU Ultralite sound modules, which collectively provide an individual output for each of the 20 loudspeakers.
This extraordinary level of control allows the entire system to be time-aligned and zoned to give the impression of seagulls wheeling overhead, waves crashing on the beach and seals calling at your feet…a truly remarkable experience in the centre of Leeds!