Trent Falls to Spurn Point: A remarkable sound journey

Visitors to the University of Hull’s Donald Roy Theatre within the Gulbenkian Centre will soon be transported from the river Trent to the tides of Spurn Point and out into the North Sea thanks to a new sound installation opening on Thursday 22 June.

Composed by BAFTA award-winning musician and sound recording artist Chris Watson, Trent Falls to Spurn Point utilises recordings gathered along the course of the estuary from the machinery of Goole’s docks to the sounds of shifting sand at Spurn Point and even features the terrace choir of Hull FC.

The clips were gathered over 18 months on location and will be broadcast in an innovative environment using surround sound and light to place the audience within each location. Each recording lasts for around 20 minutes but will be played on a continuous loop.

Chris Watson, who has previously contributed to major BBC TV documentaries such as Life and Frozen Planet, 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 a collaborative project between the University of hull and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and is one of several sonic arts activities taking place this year. Earlier in the year, students from the university composed the soundtrack for the Bowhead exhibition at Hull Maritime Museum which attracted more than 90,000 visitors.

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 and emotion.”

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

Also at Middleton Hall, from 29 June to 2 July, is the Sound + Environment 2017 conference, bringing together artists and scientists to explore the ways that sound can deepen our understanding of environments.

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.

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.”

Trent Falls to Spurn Point runs from Thursday 22 June until Saturday 15 July. Tickets are available now and are priced at £5 or £3 for concessions.