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Daphne Oram (1925-2003)



Electronic Sound Patterns (1962)

  1. Melodic Group Shapes 1 (1:20)
  2. Three Single Sounds Taken in Canon (1:52)
  3. Rhythmic Variation 1 (0:52)
  4. Rhythmic Variation 2 (0:41)
  5. Ascending And Descending Sequences 1 (0:36)
  6. Ascending And Descending Sequences 2 (0:33)
  7. Ascending And Descending Sequences 3 (1:54)
  8. Ascending And Descending Sequences 4 (0:45)
  9. Ascending And Descending Sequences 5 (0:46)
  10. Ascending And Descending Sequences 6 (0:30)
  11. Ascending And Descending Sequences 7
  12. Ascending And Descending Sequences 8
  13. Ascending And Descending Sequences 9


Daphne Oram - Electronic Sound Patterns
Label: His Master's Voice
Catalog#: 7EG 8762
Format: Vinyl, 7", Mono, 45 RPM

Country: UK
Released: 1962
Genre: Electronic, Non-Music
Style: Education, Musique Concrète
Credits: Arranged By, Electronics - Vera Gray
Composed By, Electronics - Daphne Oram
Notes: Composed and created by Daphne Oram.
Released as part of the Listen, move and dance series (Volume 3) and BBC programme to help children dance.

From the sleevenotes:
"Teachers seeking original material have found this new approach exciting and stimulating in their creative work for music, movement and drama. The Sound patterns are intended for children to enjoy and may lead them into movement of dance-like character, or involve them in imaginative situations. People who are interested in sound production may like to know that these sound patterns were created by Daphne Oram at her Electronic Studio in Kent. By using audio generators, many tape recorders, filters, ring modulators and other electronic devices she built up the tone colours, pitched each of the notes separately, gave them duration and dynamics and finally spliced the notes together to obtain the required rhythms and sequences."

Clinging fervently to the hand of the Radiophonic Workshop collection, here's something comparable from the echoing, dimly-remembered world of British education in the late 1960s: music and movement. Namely, the teacher would spin these sounds on the wheels of steel, and all the six year-olds in their singlets and shorts would spin round and round on the polished parquet flooring of the assembly hall, pretending to be a tree in a thunderstorm, or a lemming in a blender, until it was time for mid-morning milk and accompanying weak vomiting. And people wonder where the Aphex Twin got his inspiration…

From the sleevenotes: "Teachers seeking original material have found this new approach exciting and stimulating in their creative work for music, movement and drama. The Sound patterns are intended for children to enjoy and may lead them into movement of dance-like character, or involve them in imaginative situations. People who are interested in sound production may like to know that these sound patterns were created by Daphne Oram at her Electronic Studio in Kent. By using audio generators, many tape recorders, filters, ring modulators and other electronic devices she built up the tone colours, pitched each of the notes separately, gave them duration and dynamics and finally spliced the notes together to obtain the required rhythms and sequences."

There was a great collection of Oram's work in the radiophonics world released last year - and judging by the cover of that she looked more like a woman who write to the BBC about falling moral standards than a fearless sonic pioneer in musical outer space - but this one has, as far as we know, not been officially reissued in any form. We suspect the tag on this post should really read "gold dust".


Oramics

  1. Introduction (3:33)
  2. Power Tools (0:44)
  3. Bird Of Parallax (12:58)
  4. In A Jazz Style (0:37)
  5. Purring Interlude(0:42)
  6. Contrasts Esconic (8:15)
  7. Lego Builds It (0:56)
  8. Pompie Ballet (Excerpt) (3:35)
  9. Intertel (1:20)
  10. Adwick High School No.1 (0:46)
  11. Look At Oramics (0:38)
  12. Rotolock (1:27)
  13. Purple Dust (6:45)
  14. High Speed Flight (0:49)
  15. Studio Experiment No.1 (1:48)
  16. Four Aspects (8:05)
  17. Kia Ora (0:47)
  18. Dr. Faustus Suite (9:36)
  19. Adwick High School No.2 (2:17)
  20. Tumblewash (1:59)
  21. Studio Experiment No.2 (0:41)
  22. Snow (7:46)
  23. Rockets In Ursa Major (Excerpt 1) (4:54)
  24. Food Preservation (3:20)
  25. Studio Experiment No.3 (1:07)
  26. Bala (1:42)
  27. Episode Metallic (5:28)
  28. Studio Experiment No.4 (0:39)
  29. Adwick High School No.3 (1:35)
  30. Fanfare Of Graphs (0:57)
  31. Studio Experiment No.5 (1:14)
  32. Brocilliande (10:11)
  33. Mary Had A Little Lamb (2:37)
  34. Incidental Music For Invasion (Excerpts) (5:04)
  35. Costain Suite (13:16)
  36. Rockets In Ursa Major (Excerpt 2) (1:22)
  37. Passacaglia (4:28)
  38. Missile Away (2:06)
  39. Pulse Persephone (4:02)
  40. Adwick High School No.4 (2:17)
  41. Nestea (0:28)
  42. Rockets In Ursa Major (Excerpt 3) (3:28)
  43. Conclusion (0:11)
  44. Studio Jinks (6:08)

Originally released on Paradigm Discs, 2007 (Out of Print)

Daphne Oram is best known for her design of her Oramics system, and also for co-founding the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1957, but until now the only easily available piece of music by her on CD has been the 8 minute long ‘Four Aspects’. There was also a 7” EP from 1962 on HMV, released as part of the ‘Listen, Move and Dance’ series that was specifically designed to help children dance. Although the short pieces on this record are very basic it could be argued that this is the first ever electronic dance record!

Now for the first time is a survey of nearly all the major pieces that she produced since her departure from the BBC in January 1959 until her final tape piece in 1977. During this time she worked independently in her home studio, and thanks to a grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation in 1962 she was able to persue her interests. In Britain there were no state funded studios other than the Radiophonic Workshop which mainly existed at the behest of the drama studio and was not generally seen as a place to develop personal artistic ideas. There were also no university studios at this time, so it was necessary for British electronic composers to be self funded. Throughout this period she devoted her attention to developing her Oramics ‘drawn sound’ system, which consisted of a large machine that enabled drawn patterns to be converted into sound. This system was eventually fully realised in the late 60’s and several pieces here incorporate its use.

The 2 and a half hours of music on this 2CD set covers the whole range of Oram’s post BBC output. All of the music is electronic with some occassional use of real instruments, especially small percussion and piano frame. There is also some use of musique concrète techniques. The works fall roughly into the following catagories: works for TV and cinema advertising, film soundtracks, music for theatre productions, installations and exhibitions as well as concert pieces and several studio experiments. There are also a few short pieces that resulted from an experimental music course given by Oram at a high school in Yorkshire in 1967.


RELATED RESOURCES:
Daphne Oram in UbuWeb Historical




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