Contact: langhamresearch AT gmail.com
Langham Research Centre formed in 2003, as producers at BBC Radio 3, based in London’s Langham Place. These were the last days that open reel tape was used for broadcast.
We loved the rich sound of tape, and the personalities and imperfections of tape machines. We wanted to recapture the spirit of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and make BBC programmes featuring our tape experiments. An early example was Gateshead Multistorey Carpark, entirely made out of the sounds of the infamous carpark from the film, Get Carter.
Like an Early Music group’s use of historic instruments, we work with vintage equipment to perform 20th century classic electronic repertoire by John Cage, Alvin Lucier and others, particularly repertoire that can only be performed with reel-to-reel tape and other now obsolete devices.
We also compose new music using this vintage instrumentarium. 2013 saw 3 new concert-length works by LRC, and we continue to be commissioned to write new work for music festivals, one off concerts and art galleries.
Concert works include:
Muffled Cyphers (2014) for tapes, oscillators, amplified objects: 37 mins
Commissioned by NyMusikk Oslo, inspired by sonic and visual images within JG Ballard’s writings, particularly his novel The Atrocity Exhibition (1970). Exact descriptions of sounds, locations and actions, as well as ideas, feelings and dialogue became the starting point for composition.
Freedom or Death (2013) for mezzo-soprano and tape machines: 25 mins. Commissioned for Borealis London around the struggle for women’s suffrage. We took inspiration from Freedom Or Death,the 1913 Emmeline Pankhurst speech, heavily featuring her words in the libretto, performed by mezzo-soprano Catherine Carter, with choreography by Marquez&Zangs.
Eschatology (2013) for narrator, tape machines and oscillators: 35 mins. A meditation on the end of time written with Peter Blegvad, commissioned for 2013 Borealis Festival in Bergen
OBAMIX (2013) for soprano and tape machines: 25 mins. A musique concrète chorale, setting extracts from three defining Barack Obama speeches. OBAMIX explores the rhetorical flourishes of the speech- maker, inviting us to question how our physical bodies serve our words. The sole sound source is the live and processed voice of soprano Alwynne Pritchard.
Eschatology (BBC Radio 3, 2014), a radiophonic drama about the end of the world, performed live with a small cast. Music and live sound effects by LRC
Muffled Cyphers (Radio Arts, 2015), originally commissioned by NyMusikk Oslo, inspired by sonic and visual images within JG Ballard’s writings, particularly his novel The Atrocity Exhibition (1970). Exact descriptions of sounds, locations and actions, as well as ideas, feelings and dialogue became the starting point for composition.
Symphonies of Wind Turbines (BBC Radio 3, 2008), a sonic meditation on wind turbines and their place in today’s environment, recorded in Norfolk and the Fenlands.
Guest+Host=Ghost (BBC Radio 3, 2005), a journey into one man’s isolation, written and narrated by Peter Blegvad, with readings by Nick Cave.
Gateshead Multistorey Carpark (BBC Radio 3, 2005), an otherworldly elegy for an infamous carpark in northern England, using only on-location sounds processed on magnetic tape.