Walls/Oram «Sound Houses»

Kompakt - UK

Composer and inventor Daphne Oram (1925-2003) is one of music's forgotten pioneers. At the age of eighteen she began working as a sound engineer for the BBC, and it dawned on her that technology's rapid progress would come to influence music history. Among other things, she realized that recording studio technique and tape recorders could not only be used as a tool for recording, but also functioned as instruments in themselves.


After her colleagues had gone home for the evening, she remained in the studio to explore these possibilities. She recorded different sounds to tape, and she manipulated them. By looping, playing them backwards or changing the speed of the recordings she discovered and created enigmatic sounds. Her professional colleagues showed little interest and refused to accept these sounds as music. Disappointed by the response from the male-dominated composer and sound environment in the BBC she quit to build her own studio in Kent. Here she lived a secluded life as she further developed her technique, and during the sixties she built the large Oramics machine, one of the very first electronic musical instruments, a kind of prototype of synth. The machine could play and manipulate ten rolls of 35mm film simultaneously, whereupon Oram had drawn and etched patterns that produced different sounds.


When Daphne Oram died in 2003, she left several hundred hours of audio recordings, which was largely overlooked and forgotten by music historians. As part of a major reconstruction work, the duo Walls (Alessio Natalizia and Sam Willis) gained access Orams archives. They were allowed to freely interpret, sample, expand or process the recordings and this resulted in the album "Sound Houses" released under the name Walls / Oram.


By: Ekko