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Private Dreams and Public Nightmares
This is the third album release on Andrea Parker's avant-garde Aperture label, a label carving its own niche in experimental electronic music. Other artists to date have included Oberman Knocks, clifordandcalix, and remixes from the likes of Luke Vibert, Freeform, Majestic 12, Andrea Parker and Daz Quayle. The album at hand is a concept album which re-works and re-interprets original, unheard sounds from the Daphne Oram archives to create eight unique original pieces culminating in an album which includes two live performances by Andrea Parker and Daz Quayle. Done purely as a labor of love in their spare time, Parker and Quayle have incorporated some of the less-obvious, unnerving sounds they discovered hidden in the archives to explore a different side of Daphne Oram -- a darker side. What developed was a deeply personal album, drawing on Parker's in-depth knowledge of Daphne Oram's life and works, containing pieces created as they hoped Daphne Oram herself would have done with the sounds that she had made. Daphne Oram needs no introduction... British pioneer and forerunner of modern electronic music, and founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, she's the genius who built the Oramics machine. She is also one of Parker's idols. It was her obsessive interest in collecting sound effects records and her passion for electronic pioneers that first introduced her to Daphne Oram and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. A chance meeting with Phil Howlett at The Royal Festival Hall ultimately led to her direct involvement with the Daphne Oram Trust, through trustee Dr. Mick Grierson, who gave Parker permission to create a unique concept album using some of Daphne Oram's original sounds. In doing so she became one of the first people to be given unrestricted access to the Daphne Oram Archives, containing hundreds of tapes (211 to be precise) of original, unheard sounds created by Daphne Oram herself. Private Dreams and Public Nightmares starts with an interview featuring Daphne Oram recorded for women's hour for the BBC. Followed by two pieces performed live by Parker and Quayle, one for the Short Circuit Festival supporting the BBC Radiophonic Workshop at The Roundhouse and also for "Oramics: The Life and Works of Daphne Oram" at The Royal Festival Hall. The album sounds minimal, yet in some pieces, up to 80 insular sounds were used to create a detailed path to lead your ear through the unknown. An intense piece of work. This album is challenging and isolationist, using a spectrum of dark sounds running throughout with the occasional beat, lots of bass that certainly weighs it down, giving it a distinctive, moody and ominous sound. There are chords as well as lots of bleeps, electronic clangs and plenty of sinister drones that force their way into your consciousness, leaving you feeling possibly unstable with emotional tension. It's fearsome, haunting and downright scary at times, certainly not for the faint-hearted. It's definitely not easy listening, but be patient, and you will find extraordinary pieces delivered in an unnerving way.