Opera North Projects presents a brand new sound installation, Hy Brasil, specially commissioned for the Howard Assembly Room, from celebrated sound artist Chris Watson.
Best known as the sound recordist for BBC programmes including the award-winning Frozen Planet, and described by the Guardian as “the daddy of wildlife and sound recording,” Chris Watson was also a founding member of influential experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire and has released a number of albums of edited field recordings for Touch. He is a regular presence on Radio 4, most recently with Tweet of the Day, and David Attenborough’s Life in Sound.
He explores the undiscovered sonic landscape of the fabled island of Hy Brasil in this new sound installation created for the unique space of the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds.
The mythic land of Hy Brasil is a mysterious island rumoured to be hidden in mist somewhere off the coast of Ireland, which becomes visible to human eyes and ears just once every seven years. It appears on many seafarers’ maps of the Atlantic, finally disappearing from them only in 1870 . Chris Watson’s voyage of imaginative discovery through this uncharted territory explores the island through an astonishing array of animal inhabitants and natural environments, composed from compelling wildlife sounds from his global archive.
The installation takes its visitors on a daylong expedition through the island- from shore to summit, dawn to dusk, all in a cycle of rhythm, sound and beautiful lighting that lasts around 20 minutes. From the swirling pulse of the currents that pass around the island to the haunting siren-song of whales and seals, the otherworldly cries of Manx shearwaters and the deep roar of black howler monkeys, Hy Brasil moves around the visitor in three dimensional life, through ambi-sonic sound, enhanced by gorgeously atmospheric lighting by Lighting Designer Tim Skelly.