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- The Oram Tapes Volume One by Daphne Oram
8/10 Mike Staff review, 14 December 2011
Since her death in 2003, Young Americans's people have been working overtime panning her archive of tapes for gold, with the highlights being released on a series of 4LP sets. Last year's Oramics set primarily focused on her more melodic offerings, and here the focus shifts to tone experiments and concrete collages. Despite founding the Radiophonic Workshop, Oram's achievements have been somewhat overshadowed by the more accessible work of colleagues such as Delia Derbyshire, which is a shame because while Derbyshire and co's work was more immediate and relaxing, Oram's work is often genuinely creepy and unsettling, with recorded noises manipulated and tweaked into something barely recognisable. In 'Oxford' we have the sound of echoing clangs like steel girders reverberating against one another. The others in the office are now filling me in on how she developed her own 'Oramics machine' and left the Radiophonic Workshop behind in her attempts to progress with her pioneering synth work. With this being collected archive recordings, some of them are just tone tests and the like and it's best enjoyed as an educational tool by those who are already reasonably well versed in the history behind this extraordinary character from the pioneering days of electronic music. If you're just in it for the tunes, this might not be exactly what you're after.
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