Howard Assembly Room Hy-Brasil 1

Hy-Brasil @ The Howard Room, Leeds

A new sound installation by Chris Watson premiered at the Howard Assembly Room for Opera North in Leeds at the end of February, marking the opening of his latest sonic sculpture. 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.

Recorded in numerous remote locations around the world, including the Galapagos Islands and Iceland, ‘Hy Brasil’ celebrates the mythical island of the same name. The 20-minute performance transports the visitor to the island by delivering a rich auditory experience which includes the sounds of indigenous fauna as well as the natural land and seascape.

Pro Audio Systems have provided the technical support for several of Watson’s works, and this project saw them once again mobilising part of their Meyer Sound inventory. The gentle natural acoustics of the Howard Assembly Room provide the perfect setting for a system comprising twelve Meyer Sound UPJ-1P's (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 is 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 twenty loudspeakers.

Howard Assembly Room Hy-Brasil 2
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. It’s a remarkable sensory experience, and thoroughly recommended.

‘Hy Brasil’ runs from February 28th to March 15th inclusive, open Tuesday to Saturday. You can find out more about it by visiting the Howard Assembly Room HERE.