The Oramics Machine during conservation

Electronic musicians wanted

We are looking for musicians with a passion for electronic music to co-curate an upcoming exhibition. It is centered around one of the oldest and most intriguing electronic music devices, which we acquired in 2009.   
 
The Oramics Machine was invented by Daphne Oram, who had founded the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and later set up her own studio.

The machine was a tad dusty, to say the least, so over the last year, our conservators have lovingly restored it. And now this grande dame of electronic music will return to the stage once more. In honour of its return, we are organising a temporary exhibition about the history of electronic music.

Among other things, we will be exploring how electronic music has influenced and been influenced by society over the last 60+ years. In developing this exhibition we would like to work together with people who know electronic and digital music from the inside.

In a series of workshops we will explore the history of electronic music and relevant objects in the Science Museum stores. You will get a look behind the scenes and contribute to an exhibition that will open in the autumn of 2011.

If you want to be a part of this, please email us at  publichistory@sciencemuseum.org.uk and tell us in 300 words or less:
1. Why you love electronic music
2. What kind of music you make and how you share it with others
3. How much you know about the history of electronic music

It doesn’t have to be an essay - feel free to be creative in your response.

And finally, let us know whether you would be able to work with us in London during the day on Tuesdays in June and July this year.

Please make sure to send in your submission before the deadline of 12 pm, 30 May 2011.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Ps. Check out the Oramics Machine on Facebook if you want to be the first to know about upcoming events and competitions.

13 thoughts on “Electronic musicians wanted

  1. ariel

    I wood like to her from you aboutth the contess, I dot read enlgish very well, j’espère que vous comprenez le français , je vie à montréal je joue du clavieret j’aimereais le lansséen musique électronique. ça fais deux ans que je ne joue plus mais vous m,avez donné le gout de recommencé de jouer de la musique avec mon clavier yamha pf80 et module de son korg tr-rack. donné moi des nouvelle sur le concour, merci de vôtre par et la prochaine.

    Reply
    1. Merel

      Hi Ariel,
      [I hope you don't mind a response in English.]

      It’s great to read that you’re inspired to play your PF80 again because of our project! We can’t really say anything yet about any competitions, but we will post any news about upcoming events on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/OramicsMachine). You don’t need to be on Facebook to access the information. Thanks for getting in touch!

      Merel

      Reply
  2. Merel

    Hi Rob,
    Hang on to that excitement! We know that this particular event is an opportunity for a small number of people who are London based. We are also very excited that there is a much wider, global interest in what we are doing. Because we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get involved and contribute, we are working hard to develop events that will be open to everyone, whether they are living in the UK or abroad. We will keep you updated through our Oramics Machine Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/OramicsMachine). We really hope you’ll be able to get involved as well.

    Merel
    Associate Curator Public History – Science Museum

    Reply
  3. Norm

    Shame that this will be London based as I have been involved in electronic music since the early 70′s and now repair old electronic instruments and teach the principles of synthesis full time.
    Regards,
    Norm
    PS: I saw the Oramics machine in the flesh some years ago before you acquired it, glad it has been saved…

    Reply
    1. Merel

      Hi Norm,
      We are trying to make this a project that is both online and based in the museum. Because the Oramics Machine as an object is so interesting (and too big to move around easily) there will be some events that require a visit to the museum to participate. However, there will also be loads of opportunities to get involved through the web.

      It’s great that you had the opportunity to see the machine before! Was the it still in working condition when you saw it? It would be great to hear more about your encounter with the machine then. Was it still at Daphne’s studio, or did you see it somewhere else? It would be great if you could share your story with us.

      Merel

      Reply
      1. Norm Leete

        Merel,
        I’m sure there will be a way of being involved remotely. It would also be good to see some of the other Science Museum’s other electronic instruments be exhibited. From a British point of view there should be the VCS3 (I believe you have one of those), I learnt syntesis on one of those. Other contenders would be the EDP Wasp, the Mellotron and the WEM Copicat. Taking the world view there ought to be a Moog (perhaps we could get the UK to pronounce Robert Moog’s name correctly!). Of course the Radiophonic Workshop was also very important in bringing electronic music to the masses.
        Regards,
        Norm

        Reply
        1. Merel

          Hi Norm,

          Thank you for those suggestions. We just had our first look at the museums’ collections yesterday, you can see some pictures of that trip to the stores on the Oramics Machine’s Facebook page. We are thinking about ways in which we can share our progress so far with all of you who are following the project online to get some feedback. I’ll let you know when we’ve come up with a good way of doing that.

          Merel

          Reply
    2. rory o'farrell

      Hi Norm. this could be a rather fortuitous discovery. I live in Chippenham and have been looking for someone fairly local who might be able to look at my Oberheim obxa and a roland jupiter 4. Suddenly you popped up on the science museum blog, so I thought I’d get in touch to see if you might be able to help. Perhaps drop me an email or call on 01249 461361 or 07971 373525. All the best, Rory O’Farrell.

      Reply
  4. Hamstall Ridware

    Speaking as one who has worked with Norm, I would say that there could be no better co-curator of this historic machine than him. Norm is a synthesizer genius specialising in the resurrection of synths considered by others to be beyond repair. The emerge Lazarus-like from his secret workshop in the Stroud valleys. I believe he saw the machine some time ago, and kept schtum about it when it was in the possession of the private collector who then sold it to VEMIA. (The eBay part of its history never happened, but VEMIA is an auction house specialising in synthesizers). When it failed to sell, the auction administrator bought it himself to save it from being lost forever.

    Of course we at Sundae Club would love to be involved as well, but being situated in the Sleepy Cotswolds, some 100 miles away from South Kensington, it may not be easy to make a regular commitment.
    We’ve already used the existing Oramics machine software beta to create a track which we’ve posted on our Bandcamp page (link attached) and on the Oramics Machine’s Facebook page.

    It’s a lovely thing that the real thing’s been saved.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Oramics to Electronica | Science Museum Blog

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