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Boomkat Product Review:
Plenty of praise has been lavished on veteran musician, field recording expert and BBC sound recordist Chris Watson, and it would be hard to disagree with any of it. ‘Cross Pollination’ is his latest full-length, again for the Touch label that has been his home for many years, and sees him teaming up with Marcus Davidson for a surprising collaborative piece. Using Watson’s recordings of bees in an English country garden as the backbone of the composition, Marcus Davidson had a choir re-interpret the sounds and tones as a kind of symphony. Davidson had noticed that the bees’ pitch was always around the base note for tuning an orchestra, which sparked the idea, and the result is a beguiling blend of human and insect sounds that is as unusual as it might sound. As Davidson notes, the sound is comparable to Aboriginal music, but you can also hear plenty of references to early, primal choral recordings or even sacred music. . Paired with this piece is one of Watson’s solo recordings, charting the sunset to sunrise in the hostile Kalahari desert with a compressed half-hour of sound which is as engaging and enthralling as anything he has committed to disc in the past. The drones and ominous buzzing of unnamed insects drag you into a totally alien landscape, one you won’t want to leave in a hurry.