In many ways Inside the Circle of Fire is a very personal map. This is a route through Sheffield plotted by Chris, a route that exposes parts of his character along the way – his love for rivers, for birdsong. "From the periphery of Sheffield up on Blackamoor – with the birds and the wind and the rain – the piece follows the rivers down through the hills, valleys, and woodland, and ends up underneath Sheffield station in the Megatron. Along the way it weaves all over the place, into Forgemasters, Kelham Island, Hillsborough, Bramall Lane and Fargate."
Chris’s own recordings are mixed in with around twenty clips submitted by people across Sheffield, of journeys to work, of children playing, and – creating a strikingly serene moment – of chanting at Sheffield Buddhist Centre. In this way, the map becomes personal to a lot of people. It's the map’s "key signature sounds," as Chris calls them, that make Inside the Circle of Fire really feel as though it's something the whole of Sheffield can share. That’s our town hall’s clock striking, those are our community's voices from our market.
Day-to-day, it can be easy to develop a degree of immunity to the sounds of the city; that one o’clock siren probably gets away with barely being questioned, or even noticed, on most days. By composing a track out of such sounds, Chris allows certain features that make Sheffield unique to become more discernible, to shine, to become music. "Once you strip away much of the traffic noise, which is the homogenous element that makes most European cities sound the same, and once you go to a place and you don’t just hear but you actively listen – which is quite a creative function – then you can start to hear the real voice of the city."