Langham Research Centre

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Langham Research Centre
Langham Research Centre with tape spools, in 2011.jpg
Langham Research Centre with empty tape spools
Background information
Genres Musique concrète, experimental
Years active 2003 (2003)–present
Labels Sub Rosa
Associated acts Peter Blegvad, Alwynne Pritchard

Langham Research Centre is a group devoted to authentic performances of classic electronic music, and the creation of new music from their instrumentarium of vintage analogue devices. Founded in August 2003, they comprise the composers / radio producers Felix Carey, Iain Chambers, Philip Tagney, and Robert Worby. Their new music follows in the traditions of the Radiophonic Workshop, using reel-to-reel tape machines, sine wave oscillators and other vintage machinery abandoned by the BBC.

Radiophonic works include two editions of BBC Radio 3's Between The Ears: guest+host=ghost,[1] featuring Peter Blegvad and Nick Cave; and Gateshead Multi-storey Carpark,[2] featuring the infamous building from Get Carter.[3]

Live performances include an authentic tape-only version of John Cage's Fontana Mix at Tate Modern;[4] John Cage's Williams Mix at Jerwood Space;[5] live soundtrack to The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari at Notting Hill Arts Club; Robert Worby's Trios for Sinewave Oscillator & John Cage's Radio Music and Imaginary Landscape at Tate Britain.[6]

In 2011 they performed a solo concert at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, showcasing their new work LOL alongside an array of 20th century modernist classics.[7]

In March 2012 they took part in English National Opera's John Cage centenary celebrations, with an authentic electronic Cage performance at the MusiCircus staged at the Coliseum.[8]

The group headlined London's Cafe Oto in September 2012, with a programme celebrating John Cage's centenary, including the UK premiere of WBAI and Speech.[9]

Their work includes OBAMIX, a musique concrète chorale for treated soprano, setting extracts from 3 of Barack Obama's defining speeches. This premiered in February 2013 with soprano Alwynne Pritchard performing alongside Langham Research Centre at London's Kings Place. LRC have since performed OBAMIX at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

In March 2013, Langham Research Centre presented a new work, Eschatology, with Peter Blegvad at the Borealis festival in Bergen, Norway. Eschatology was broadcast live in 2014 in Between The Ears, BBC Radio 3's experimental radio strand.

In April 2013 LRC performed music by John Cage at London's Barbican Centre alongside pianist Ian Pace and mezzo-soprano Catherine Carter, as part of the Barbican's Bride and the Bachelors exhibition, featuring the work of Marcel Duchamp, Cage, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

In August 2013, Langham Research Centre presented a concert length musical theatre piece, Freedom or Death [10] commissioned by Borealis Festival to mark 100 years of women's suffrage in Norway. Performed by Langham Research Centre and Catherine Carter, the piece draws its libretto from Emmeline Pankhurst's 1913 speech, Freedom or Death, and is a semi-staged work with choreography by Marquez & Zangs.

Langham Research Centre released John Cage - Early Electronic and Tape Music, an acclaimed LP/CD of new realisations of John Cage's music on the Sub Rosa label in April 2014.[11]

In May 2014, Ny Musikk Oslo commissioned Langham Research Centre to write Muffled Cyphers, a new work in response to J. G. Ballard's 1970 modernist novel, The Atrocity Exhibition. The piece - for amplified small sounds, sine-wave oscillators and tape - was premiered at the 2014 Only Connect festival in Oslo, Norway, with slide projections by Jeremy Welsh.

In September 2014, the group produced and performed a special live edition of Between The Ears for BBC Radio 3. Their radio version of Eschatology was written by Peter Blegvad and starred Harriet Walter and Guy Paul as the last survivors of an apocalypse.[12]

In 2016 the group produced The Dark Tower, a new concert work for Spitalfields Music Summer Festival, responding to the life and work of Nikola Tesla. The work was premiered in the Pathology Museum of St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. They toured the UK with the Goldfield Ensemble, performing repertoire inspired by Cold War era technology.


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