Old school creeping Brit horror from out of the transistor. Mentioned this in passing a little while back, a six-part audio drama transmitted at fortnightly intervals entitled ‘akiha den den’. Written by Neil Cargill with sound-scapes provided for by Simon James – a name you might be more readily familiar as Simonswood or more recently Black Channels. This weird ear chiller centres around a radio ham who one night begins to pick up strange voices from a girl trapped in an abandoned amusement arcade, he soon learns that she is not alone and that there is a community of these lost and stranded souls with one of their number attempting to cross the threshold from their world into ours. It’s classic radio-phonia much styled in the hand of Nigel Kneale albeit possessed of a Sapphire and Steel makeover and blessed with its own paranoia prickling cold war / BBC Radiophonic sonic mosaic all crafted and located in the secret parallel worlds of Ray Bradbury’s imagination (with the fairground imagery and talk of the Monday Man echoes of ‘something wicked this way comes’ are recalled).The drama features a stellar cast of players – Ian McDiarmid, Joy McEvoy, SheilaReid, Mark Little and Wendy Rae Fowler, those subscribing to the series will be rewarded with all manner additional soundtrack contract, mysterious codes and voices between transmissions.
As Mr Cargill notes – “A great deal of radio drama nowadays pretends to be something else – a Hollywood blockbuster soundtrack, or TV thriller. And they succeed on that score, but in Akiha Den Den we’re exploring what radio does best and harnessing its unique strength – intimacy, that one-to-one voice in your ear. It can be compelling and friendly – or chilling and spine-tingling, because you know for that moment the voice you hear is talking to only you.”
While for Mr James it marks a creative career ambition – ‘Opportunities to create worlds in sound this rich, strange and complex don’t come along very often in radio. For a long time I’ve wanted a project that combines my love of radio drama, sound art and experimental music. Neil’s vision has given me the opportunity to work on such a project.”
The first broadcast can be accessed either via www.akihadenden.com or via https://soundcloud.com/user-872475453/series-1-episode-1-voices-from-the-deep-darkness