Simon James performing at Studio Live
Simon James performing at Studio Live


13 October 2016

A unique six-part audio drama series created by writer/director Neil Cargill and musician/sound designer Simon James launches online on Thursday 15th September.

Neil and Simon produced the pilot episode for Akiha Den Den whilst taking part in the Lighthouse Studio Platforms programme, designed to bring together creative practitioners from the fields of film, art, design, music, technology, and others, to develop and produce their own projects.

Ian McDiarmid (famed for his role as Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars saga) plays Cuttings, a radio ham who picks up the mysterious voice of a girl (Joy McAvoy, from The Angels’ Share and Filth) trapped in Akiha Den Den – an abandoned amusement park. Soon, it becomes clear there’s a whole community there, whose words and music become woven into a mesmerising plea for help. Things become highly charged when one of the trapped inhabitants finds a way into our world – where his impact on us could be as devastating and far-reaching as an unknown, unseen virus.

Neil Cargill’s script draws heavily on memories from his childhood, living in a remote Scottish town, tuning in to foreign radio transmissions. “Whispering in from unknown foreign lands and talking of a better life beyond the border, are experiences shared by the main characters in Akiha Den Den," he says. "What do you do about barriers between nations or even between individuals? Do you dare cross them, or not? Of course words, travelling through the air, can cross any border.”

Neil explains: “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 only to you.”

Akiha Den Den features an original score, composed by Simon James, with vocals from Wendy Rae Fowler, a featured artist on tracks for bands such as Queens Of The Stone Age.

“Opportunities to create worlds in sound this rich, strange and complex don’t come along very often in radio’" says James. "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.”

AKIHA DEN DEN launches online on Thursday 15th September at 7.45pm.
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