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From The Archives Podcast: 6. The BBC Radiophonic Workshop
“Orwelian? Please use your influence to stop that dreadful introduction to BBC - TV programs which shows what appears to be various departments of an Orwelian prison. Or does the background music intend it should be taken for a lunatic asylum? - (Lt., Col.) R. K. Spurrel, Leigh, Surrey “ (*complaint in the early sixties).

You’ve probably heard about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop before, though rest assured, there’s a lot more to it than Delia Derbyshire and Doctor Who. Between 1958 and 1995, all the amazingly creative people that worked in this techno-magical room were not ahead of their time but have literally drawn a path that the electronic music culture followed without question. In the beginning some folks thought that they were repairing radios, which surely was not that farfetched considering how some of their pieces must have sounded like: mind BOGgling, proto-psychedelic, space-dustrial creepiness that lurks behind your ears and bites them when you least expect.

What is certain is that, by the use of concrete musique techniques and a studio full of tape reels and electronic oscillators, all their compositions were out of this world; both defying and innovating old musical structures.

This mix was not intended to be an archival object although all of the major composers that worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop are present in it; rather, its purpose is to tell a timeless, often dark, sometimes ludic and ironic story of ground breaking pioneer work in an infinite universe of sound.

Anyway, my advice is to lit up, close your eyes and immerse yourself in these artistic engineers’ alchemic sonic explorations.


*words & mix by Gabi Leașcu

Tracklist:

  • Brian Hodgson (1962-1972), Organiser (1977-1995) - Tardis
  • Maddalena Fagandini (1959-1966) - The Chem Lab Mistery
  • John Baker (1963-1974) - COI Technology Pavilion
  • John Baker - Vendetta: The Ice-cream man
  • Maddalena Fagandini - Time Beat
  • John Baker - Dial M for Murder
  • Peter Howell (1974-1997) - The Secret War
  • Delia Derbyshire (1962-1973) - Pot Au Feu
  • Richard Attree (1987-1998) - Artwork
  • Delia Derbyshire - Ziwzih Ziwzih Oo
  • Richard Attree - Music From 'The Demon Headmaster'
  • Brian Hodgosn - Gravity Generator
  • Peter Howell / Roger Limb (1972-1995) / Jonathan Gibbs (1983-1986) / Malcolm Clarke (1969-1995) / Elizabeth Parker (1978-1998) / Dick Mills (1958-1993) - Radiophonic Rock
  • Paddy Kingsland (1970-1981) - Brighton Pier
  • Roger Limb - Kitten’s Lullaby
  • Malcolm Clarke - March of the Cyberman
  • Malcolm Clarke - Goblin’s Lair
  • Keith Salmon (1982 - ?) - Westmister At Work
  • Richard Attree - No easy road
  • Malcom Clarke - Andromedan War Machine
  • Malcolm Clarke - The Unseeing Eye
  • Richard Yeoman-Clark (1970-1978) - Mysterioso
  • Glynis Jones (1973 - ?), Malcolm Clarke - Schlum Rooli
  • Elizabeth Parker - Salum’s Lot
  • Delia Derbyshire - Phantoms of Darkness
  • Dick Mills - Adagio
  • Malcolm Clarke - Evil Rises up
  • Daphne Oram (1958-1959), Desmond Briscoe (1967-1973, David Caine (1967-1973) - In Between

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