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A remarkable sound journey from Trent Falls to Spurn Point – 22 June to 15 July

A remarkable sound journey down the course of the Humber estuary composed by BAFTA award winner Chris Watson opens to audiences this month. 

14th June 2017

Hosted in the Gulbenkian Centre at the University of Hull, Trent Falls to Spurn Point will transport the listener from the confluence of the rivers Trent and Ouse by Trent Falls on the ebbing tide to Spurn Point and out into the North Sea. 

As a musician and sound recording artist who specialises in nature and wildlife, Chris has contributed to major BBC TV documentaries such as ‘Life’ and ‘Frozen Planet’. 

Chris has spent the last 18 months recording sounds along the course of the estuary from the machine music of Goole docks, to the shifting sands around Spurn Point, a journey punctuated by the songs of bitterns and the terrace choir of Hull FC.  

This will be broadcast in an innovative environment using surround sound and light to place the audience within each location.  

A collaboration between the University and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 programme, Trent Falls to Spurn Point runs from 22 June to 15 July. Each recording lasts 20 minutes but is on a continuous loop to allow the audience to enjoy it for as long as they wish. More details on times and booking can be found via the University’s Culturenet website

Chris Watson said:

“This composition imagines a voyage out with the ebbing tide along the Humber estuary, a journey marked by the unique signature sounds from a series of spectacular locations.” 

Trent Falls to Spurn Point is one of a number of sonic arts activities the University is involved in during Hull 2017. Earlier in the year, students composed the soundtrack for the Bowhead exhibition at Hull’s Maritime Museum, which attracted more than 90,000 visitors. The students used the state of the art music production facilities in Middleton Hall, which formed part of the recent £9.5m redevelopment to create a top class music and arts venue for the University and wider community.  

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said:

"Chris Watson's Trent Falls to Spurn Point continues this year's incredible adventures in sound and music. It will be of interest to anyone with an interest in found sound and collected noise, but deriving as it does from the unique and beautiful landscapes that form this part of the world, it is sure to provoke highly personal responses, from memory, to reflection, to emotion." 

On 15 and 16 June, University of Hull lecturer Magnus Johnson will be among those presenting at Sounding the Sea, a major two-day symposium at Middleton hall and the Ferens art gallery in Hull, exploring our artistic and scientific connections to the ocean.  

And from 29 June to 2 July, Middleton Hall will host the Sound + Environment 2017 conference. It brings together artists and scientists to explore the ways that sound can deepen our understanding of environments. For example, by recording the sounds of species in an area, we can not only identify what lives there, but how numbers of species have changed over time.   

Conference organiser and University of Hull Music lecturer, Dr Rob Mackay, said: “Sound can be an incredibly evocative way of exploring our world – the familiar noises that we take for granted and enrich our experience of a place. These events at the University will give visitors the chance to learn more about how sound helps us to build up this audio ‘picture’ of our world, and how it can help us understand how our world is changing due to issues like climate change. 

“We are particularly proud to welcome the likes of Chris Watson to the University, giving our students and external visitors the chance to learn from experts in their field and experience their work in an innovative way.” 

Find out more about Trent Falls to Spurn Point and the Sound + Environment conference via Culturenet.