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Radiophonic Workshop to release first album for 32 years

By | Published on Wednesday 15 March 2017

Radiophonic Workshop

The Radiophonic Workshop are preparing to release their first album for 32 years, ‘Burials In Several Earths’, a collection of improvisations inspired by Francis Bacon’s ‘New Atlantis’.

Originally founded by Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram at the BBC in the late 1950s, the electronic music pioneers are best known for creating the ‘Doctor Who’ theme tune. Following a reunion in 2009, original members Peter Howell, Roger Limb, Dr Dick Mills and Paddy Kingsland have been working together again on live performances. The new album marks their first commercially available new material since 1985.

“The improvisation was done blind with no preconceptions nor any real start point”, say the group of the record. “We wanted to see what happened if we allowed people to react together with their machines in a very unplanned and spontaneous way. The computers and sequencers were switched off and it led to a very human interaction between all of us. It is important that we maintained this feeling of spontaneity on the final discs – so minimal editing has taken place. What you hear is what happened in the moment”.

Of the connection to ‘New Atlantis’, they add: “In 1957, Daphne Oram, one of the founders of the workshop, took a section of the novel and framed it as a sort of manifesto for the workshop and its role as an avant garde and experimental electronic space for BBC radio and television productions”.

They go on: “Manipulating sound was a relatively new practice then and our use of early electronics and tape effects was seen as futuristic and somewhat challenging. The section on the wall of Room 13 was there to remind us that when producers complained or people wrote to the Radio Times saying the music was unlistenable that we were trying to design future sounds – it was an experimental space. The section was chosen to be morale booster you might say”.

The group are set to perform at the Convergence festival later this month, and at the Blue Dot festival in July.

Listen to excerpts from ‘Burials In Several Earths’ here: