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Weather Report

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Album Review

It took five years for sound recordist extraordinaire Chris Watson to come up with a follow-up to the 1998 CD Outside the Circle of Fire. Weather Report was worth the wait. Again, Watson delivers a platter of amazing sounds. He is not a field recording purist, but he doesn't turn his prime materials into abstract sound art, either. His nature recordings are left untouched, but he selects, blends, and edits the sounds together to form aural story lines of great beauty and immediacy. Plus, his recording skills put you right where he wants you to be. In "Ol-Olool-O," that would be in the Kenyan savannah. A lion's roar opens this 18-minute reduction of a 14-hour recording of nature playing by its own rules. "The Lapaich" takes place from September to December in a Scottish highland glen (again seamlessly reduced to 18 minutes). Rain is the predominant sound, but there is a lot more going on, including a number of cows saluting the recordist. "Vatnajökull," the third and last piece, proposes another very different setting: a glacier that lies on the southeast corner of Iceland. The crackling of the natural ship (it really sounds like a huge boat made of wood planks), the wind, and the songs of seagulls form the core of the soundscape. Each different sound becomes a new character in these three stories, a character you may grow attached to. Index points mark out chapters, moments where the action is interrupted and resumes at a later point, from another perspective. In certain moments, you wonder if Watson is not playing God — come on, he did make rain fall at this precise moment, right? Weather Report is totally absorbing and one of the best listening experiences to be had in the art of field recording. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Chris Watson was a founding member of late-'70s/early-'80s techno and synth-pop innovators Cabaret Voltaire and, later, ambient-industrial fusioners the Hafler Trio. In something of an odd switch, Watson left the music industry behind in the early '90s to work as a sound recordist for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Watson quickly branched out into production for film and television, and has since handled field recording for a number of nature programs, documentaries, and feature films....
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Weather Report, Chris Watson
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