Fantôme Phonographique present a reissue of Daphne Oram and Vera Gray‘s “Listen Move & Dance“, originally released in 1962.
The British composer, musician, and audio engineer Daphne Oram was a pioneering figure in the use of electronic music. Coming to prominence through her work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which she co-founded, Oram was one of the first British composers to feature electronic instruments in her work and has been rightly hailed as helping musique concrete to become accepted in Britain. Oram‘s composition “Still Point”, involving two orchestras, two turntables and five microphones, was deemed too radical by the BBC, though she was promoted to studio manager in 1950, leading to the gradual introduction of electronic music and musique concrete techniques on BBC soundtracks. In 1957, she composed the music for the play Amphitryon 38, using a sine wave oscillator and homemade filters, and this and other subsequent works led to the establishment of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop the following year, but Oram soon tired of the conservative constraints of the BBC, leading to her resignation in 1959 to pursue her own vision at the Oramics Studios for Electronic Composition, located in Tower Folly, a former hop kiln located at Fairseat, near the village of Wrotham in rural Kent. “Oramics” was a radical sound composition technique that sought to transform images to music, enacted by drawing onto 35mm film, which would then be read by photo-electric cells; in addition to its use in Radiophonic Workshop material, “Oramics” was also employed for sound installations, theater productions, and feature films, such as The Innocents, though financial pressures forced Oram to seek a range of commercial engagements in addition to creating her own artistic works. The “Listen Move & Dance“ series of BBC programs were devised as a radical new technique to help British schoolchildren learn how to dance; on the LP releases, Vera Gray arranged short adaptations of classical pieces by Bartok, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and others, designed for “stamping, punching, kicking and jumping” movements, as well as “running lightly”, “dancing on toes” and “shaking all about”, which contrasted sharply with Oram‘s electronic abstractions, which seemed to have been beamed in from outer space.