You might know the name Daphne Oram for her pioneering work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – with a style so distinctly her own she coined her own technique, ‘Oramics’. Or as the (only latterly) credited author of some of the Bond movie series’ most memorable retro ambient sounds.
But since 2017, the fondly remembered audio engineering titan’s legacy has been passed down to new generations in the form of the Oram Awards, which “celebrates women, trans, non-binary and gender expansive artists who are pushing the envelope of creativity in sound, music and related technology”.
And in keeping with Oram’s esoteric ethos – which lay behind an endearingly straight-laced exterior – this year’s awards honour some truly creative ideas.
This year’s list of eight winners includes work by Cecilia “Cil” Morgan, aka afromerm’s motion-sensitive ‘Juniper’, with a MIDI instrument that reacts to movements, and Helen Anahita Wilson’s use of bioelectrical signal data from plants to tell stories about human health from a whole new perspective.
Elsewhere, the awards honour Natalie Roe’s unique blend of modular synthesis and acoustic experimentation as well as Hannan Jones’ take on musique concrète.
Meanwhile London-based producer, composer, and vocalist Geo Aghinea is honoured for their work, which represents a musical landscape through the prism of a hearing aid.
The awards have previously helped launch the careers of names such as Loraine James, Klein, Venus Ex Machina, Francine Perry aka La Leif, and Amy Cutler.
Director and lead producer Karen Sutton emphasises that support for programmes such as these are vital if the music industry is serious about finding a space for diverse talent: “After seven years, I really hope this is a turning point for the program and that with more funding from the music and audio tech industries we will be able to grow our program of support and the community of artists worldwide”.
The 2023 ceremony will take place at Kings Place, London, on November 19th. Tickets are available to the public at the Kings Place website.