Press

This was a smart idea worked out with precise fidelity as an illustrated multimedia lecture that left us stepping out into the early evening with a deep sense of loss for the cheering notions of “Tomorrow’s World” and the highly strung visions of Gerry Anderson … the tail-coated theremin player at the front whose delicately exact hand movements, like a Balinese dancer, extracted pitch-perfect melodies from the magic instrument without ever touching it … a fine and original event, delivered with serious conviction and lots of flair, seducing us back to simpler, more awe-stricken times when things were to be marvelled at – and feared. The future! What a spendidly old-fashioned comfort it was.

Venue Magazine on Memories of the Future

“a combination of tuxes and white lab coats, along with one evening gown-clad harpist, a perfect image for what was to come …. led by the instrument that summed up this age of technical optimism: the theremin … sublimely rendered by the sextet playing electronic keyboards, harp, saxophone …. Youthful theremin player Charlie Draper was a knockout, turning an instrument largely associated with sci-fi sound effects into the fully expressive voice it was intended to be when invented in 1919.

Live Music Magazine on Memories of the Future

Memories Of The Future is a brave and highly idiosyncratic undertaking. Combing the information rich commentary of writer Ken Hollings, the music of The Radio Science Orchestra and a dense visual narrative, happily, they manage to execute their concept with considerable panache and charm ... a testament to fine technique, timing and sense of theatre.

If Hollings is the tour guide, then throughout take off, the RSO are the perfect flight attendants. Marshaled by the debonair Bruce Woolley, crooning the lilting “Marina” like a calm safety instruction for a voyage to the unknown, his son Kit, wrestles with the complex engine that drives the performance. He squirms appropriate bridges and flourishes through his Novation synth, deliberates with his co-pilot Ray as they ensure cocktails of heady pleasure are delivered to our seats without hitch. We are treated to an impeccable in-flight show, in which Charlie Draper performs “The Swan” on his antique Theremin perfectly synchronised with footage of Russian inventor Lev Termen doing likewise. There is something genuinely time and space conflating about this piece.

By the end of Born Under Sputnik, Hollings and The RSO have achieved something very intriguing. We are no longer calculating or measuring the interaction between the narrative and the music, but are fully absorbed into the newsreel of our memories of the future. If, as Baudrillard says, America is a primitive society of the future, then Hollings and The RSO have offered a very valuable anthropological study of the genesis of its dreams and anxieties.

The Wire on Memories of the Future and Born Under Sputnik