Environmental Sound Recording with Chris Watson

16 May 2018 – 20 May 2018

Event times


Cost of entry

€1299 (includes all activities, accommodation, full board, unlimited use of facilities and post-course support)

Occitanie, France

Travel Information

  • Bus from Toulouse, or Saint Girons
  • Nearest station: Toulouse. Then bus.

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A residential session recording sound in the Pyrenean mountains with Cabaret Voltaire founder and acclaimed sound artist Chris Watson


Nestled in the French Pyrenees at 750m altitude, 10km from the Spanish border and surrounded by snowcapped peaks, waterfalls and forests, is the picturesque thermal town of Aulus-les-bains. In the town, housed in a beautifully renovated 19th century hotel, is CAMP - the first of a new breed of arts residency. In 2018, CAMP will run a series of arts, music, writing and arts-activist sessions. These are no ordinary courses - they are intense, artistic catalysts run by internationally acclaimed practitioners; creative flashpoints designed to change the lives of everyone involved. The courses combine work in our well equipped facilities with projects carried out in the mountains.

CAMP houses advanced facilities available to all residential students - a Pro Tools studio, digital video and photography editing suites, rehearsal and performance spaces, fine art studios, a cinema and an arts library. Accommodation is provided at the centre in peaceful, private rooms, and all catering is included - this is one of the most celebrated regions of France for cheese, wine and other local produce. It's a place where great art is made, new movements are formed, new ideas are explored and groundbreaking people are nurtured. It's about generating revolutions, incubating creative minds and bringing the best emerging practitioners in all artistic fields to their full potential.

Chris Watson is one of the world's leading sound recordists specialising in wildlife and natural phenomena. In 1971 he was a founding member of the influential Sheffield-based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire. His sound recording career began in 1981 when he joined Tyne Tees Television, and since then Chris has gone on to forge a reputation as a pioneer of natural sound recording and production, working closely with David Attenborough on Frozen Planet, The Life of Mammals, The Life of Birds, Life in the Undergrowth, Galapagos and others, winning a BAFTA for his work on The Life Of Birds. His TV credits include Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Big Cat Diary, and in 2012 the Broadcasting Press Guild named Chris "Radio Broadcaster of the Year". In 2013 Chris won the Paul Hamlyn Composers Award, and he recently collaborated with Björk on the soundtrack to her 2015 MoMA retrospective in New York.

Chris has released four solo albums of field recordings, including "Stepping into the Dark" which won an Award of Distinction at the 2000 Prix Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria, and has collaborated with Mika Vainio, Philip Jeck, Hazard, Fennesz, AER (Jon Wozencroft, aka "Alpha Echo Romeo"), and Biosphere, BJNilsen, and Marcus Davidson.

This course will focus on all factors of working with environmental sound - recording, production, decoding and critical analysis. Taking place in the forests, mountains and high-altitude plains of the Haute Couserans, with field trips to some of the regions most spectacular locations, the course will cover:

>Fieldcraft and microphone techniques
>Spatial audio recording techniques such as spaced stereo microphones, surround sound arrays, Ambisonic techniques using a Soundfield microphone ST450, Schoeps double mid side arrays and Sennheiser middle and side systems
>Experimentation with contact microphones, hydrophones and parabolic reflectors
>Surround sound playback and multi-channel systems
>Decoding techniques
>Listening sessions and discussion of critical analysis
>Technical operation and specifics of location recording equipment

The sessions will be accompanied by optional outdoors activities led by CAMP crew, including guided mountaineering, visits to local beauty points, and downtime to hang out, relax, enjoy the local food and wine, and learn informally from Chris, the CAMP crew, and your fellow students. Following the course, we will invite students to submit work for release on Language, our in-house field recording label.

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Exhibiting artists

Chris Watson


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