Burials In Several Earths is a brand new work by the BBC's electronic soundtrack architects
The Radiophonic Workshop has finished its first new album since 1985. A series of synthesizer improvisations called Burials In Several Earths, it will be released by their own imprint Room 13. Original members Peter Howell, Roger Limb, Dr Dick Mills and Paddy Kingsland plus long-time associate Mark Ayres worked together on the project.
“The improvisation was done blind – with no preconceptions nor any real start point,” declare the group in a statement announcing the release. “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.”
The titles on the album are taken from Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, continuing the Radio Workshop’s link to the book begun by founder member Daphne Oram, who in 1957 framed a section from the novel as a manifesto: “We have also sound-houses, where we practise and demonstrate all sounds, and their generation. We have harmonies which you have not, of quarter-sounds, and lesser slides of sounds”.
The Radiophonic Workshop announcement explains: “The ideas in the novel seemed to fit the work as well as provide an obvious link to the history of the Radiophonic Workshop itself and the infamous Room 13 where the workshop began its work at BBC Maida Vale.
“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.”
You can listen to an excerpt from the album below:
Burials In Several Earths also features Human League’s Martyn Ware, producer Steve 'Dub' Jones and The Chemical Brothers. It will be released by Room 13 on 19 May. Pre-orders available now.