January – More music history #1 – Daphne Oram, Nina Simone

1959

Pioneering British composer and electronic musician Daphne Oram quits her post at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. (*)

She moves to ‘Tower Folly’ in Fairseat, Kent, composing and performing music, and devising the ‘Oramics system’ of graphics-based composition. (*) The playback machine built by engineer Graham Wrench uses spots and lines painted on 35mm film to control a sound generator.

To support creation of concert works like Four Aspects(*) she creates sounds for theatre, radio, television and film — for example, they’re heard in 1961 film The Innocents. (*)(*) Four Aspects (1960,8m) 

In 1944 she had been inspired to pursue synthetic sound by reading Kurt London’s ‘Film Music’ and Leopold Stokowski‘s ‘Music for All of Us’. In 1972 she publishes her own book, ‘An Individual Note Of Music, Sound And Electronics’ – it’s Delightful.

A 46-track, 4LP, 155-minute collection of Oram’s music called The Oram Tapes: Volume One (never available before) was recently released on Modern Love’s ‘Young Americans’ (UK) imprint, filling a long-standing void.

 ( Fansite ▷SAN▹
MP3: Rotolock  Oramics synth 

See also: Raymond Scott, Tristram Cary

1965

US jazz singer-songwriter, pianist Nina Simone releases 6th studio album I Put a Spell on You.

The album’s title is used for her 1993 autobiography; the ‘High Priestess of Soul’ was born ‘Eunice Kathleen Waymon’. Her first album was 1958’s Little Girl Blue. Her second live album, Nina Simone at Newport, made US#23.

I Put a Spell on You (US#99), includes some of her best-known songs — a weary cover of the title song (written by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins) , Ne me quitte pas (by Jacques Brel) as well as Feeling Good .

But she didn’t sing to the mainstream; her second 1965 album, Pastel Blues made USR&B#8. Sinnerman (10m)  In 2008 Rolling Stone names Nina #29 of the 100 greatest singers.

Ain’t Got No (live)  Love or Leave Me    Audio: IMusic discography   ( Simone Database fansite

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