Developer Strangeloop Limited has released Oramics – a software synth designed to recreate the Oramics Machine of electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram.
Oramics is a drawn sound technique, developed by Daphne Oram in 1957. Oram’s composition machine consisted of a large rectangular metal frame, providing a table-like surface traversed by ten synchronised strips of clear, sprocketed 35mm film. The musician drew shapes on the film to create a mask, which modulated the light received by photocells. Although the output from the machine was monophonic, the sounds could be added to multitrack tapes to provide more texture.
The original machine is at the Science Museum in London.
This iPhone app tries to bring to life the incredible sound of the Oramics Machine. Users can draw aspects of a sound in a drawn composition on top of film reels, including the envelope, pitch, reverb, vibrato, as well control the shape of the sound by drawing a waveshape on top of a glass plate.
Oramics is $4.99 in the App Store. If you give this a try, leave a comment with your thoughts on it.