The BBC Radiophonic Workshop: Classic or Dud?

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Broad question I know, but I got sent Paddy Kingsland's "Fourth Dimension" and the Delia Derbyshire / John Baker / David Cain "BBC Radiophonic Music" LPs today, and I'd be interested to see whether the RW's output has influenced / impressed / bored / repulsed any other contributors here (obviously, we're mainly talking people who live or have lived in the UK; I imagine those elsewhere would only be aware of their music for Doctor Who, though I might be wrong).

To my ears, most Radiophonic music from the late 70s on is banal off-the-shelf hackwork, and by the early 80s synth-based chartpop had easily overtaken them in innovation. Pretty much everything from the late 50s to about 1975, though, is fucking classic in excelsis, especially the contributions of Delia Derbyshire, Phil Young, Madalena Fagandini, John Baker, David Cain and Paddy Kingsland (roughly in chronological order there). Nobody else has brought musique concrete and other avant-garde techniques into the daily lives of millions of people like the RW.

Robin Carmody, Thursday, 22 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Could you recommend a purchase for me? I'm really interested in this.

DG, Thursday, 22 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Hmmm, now, that could be difficult.

Actually getting hold of any Radiophonic music not written for Doctor Who is fucking difficult right now; however, the BBC has recently released two CDs of music used in DW, including some of Delia Derbyshire's work, and these are available through decent / large record shops (possibly some online retailers as well, though I'm not sure). What little non-DW material is available is often priced for the collectors' market (read: horrendously expensive), however you can still often find second-hand LPs of Radiophonic music, and often in the most unlikely places; charity shops are particularly good. Sonic Boom's said to be preparing a Delia compilation, and Mark Ayres is promising a massive reissue programme including pretty much all the RW's finest achievements. But nothing has been confirmed, to my knowledge, from either source.

That said, DG, if you're interested in having some much rarer and, in many ways, more interesting RW material, mail me privately.

Robin Carmody, Thursday, 22 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

I noticed this on Ochre Records website a few weeks ago.

The Mini CD Album featuring the music from the 1966 DR WHO Episode 'The Tenth Planet'. The Episode was not only the last episode to feature the first Doctor, William Hartnell, before he regenerates but also the first to feature the Cybermen. Released 04/12/2000.

Robin is this part of the BBC Radiophonic workshop?

Those Cybermen were cool!, OT anyone remember collecting Dr Who cards inside Wheetabix boxes circa the mid 70s?

In this essay of the histrory of pre industrial music they get a mention 4. USE OF SYNTHESIZERS AND ANTI-MUSIC

Also the likes of Cabaret Voltaire have commented on their influence.

I read so many many different magazines, but i am sure that in the past The Wire had an article on the BBC RW? anyone know?

DJ Martian, Thursday, 22 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Very nearly all music from Doctor Who was produced by the Radiophonic Workshop, though I've seen a few episodes from 1970 which had orchestral music by Carey Blyton, and there may have been others. But, yes, the release you're referring to is one of the few CDs of Radiophonic music easily available at the moment.

The Wire did indeed do a piece on the Workshop in their February 1992 issue - http://www.thewire.co.uk/out/0298_1.htm

Robin Carmody, Thursday, 22 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

the easiest record to find is probably the "20 Years" ( i think it's called) LP that came out in the late '70s, & that one will answer your "classic or dud" q. right there, 'cause the 1st side ('60s stuff, pre-synthesizers for the most part...all sounds made with weird jerry-rigged home made equipment) is nearly all great & the 2nd side ('70s stuff mostly done with store-bought synths) is nearly all pretty lame.

D.Zarakov, Friday, 23 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Thank you, Robin, I may well take you up on that offer, but I think I'll dig around and see if I can find the more obvious stuff first. Thanks again.

DG, Friday, 23 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Execution may have declined but for the concept alone - a public- funded sound lab whose creations were actually broadcast to the greatest possible audience - classic.

Robin did me a tape of a lot of stuff which sounded great (oh for working tape facilities - I had to play it in my girlfriend's car, though she got even more into it than me). The kind of 'spacey' and 'weird' descriptions that lazily get attached to their music bother me, though - and this is a general thing for soundtrack instrumental music - if you're not hearing it in context (the radio/TV show it was written for) then what does 'weird' actually mean re. the Radiophonic stuff?

Tom, Friday, 23 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

D. Zarakov -

the album you're thinking of is "Radiophonic Workshop 21", which came out in 1979. I have all the first side and most of the second side and, yes, it is split as you say, and, yes, there's a lot of limp off- the-shelf hackwork on the second side, and, yes, the first side is fucking classic and the second side is mostly dud.

Side two does, however, contain Paddy Kingsland's "A Whisper From Space" (one of the very few analog-era pieces to chill the bone like the early Derbyshire and Fagandini stuff does) and Peter Howell's euphoric "Greenwich Chorus". Annoyingly I don't have two Kingsland tracks which were originally on the second side ("Broken Biscuit Club" and "Newton") because they'd almost certainly be better than the banalities from Roger Limb and Malcolm Clarke that ended up there (Limb's "Quirky" in particular is cursed by a kind of forced quasi- poppy wackiness which makes you gag).

But it does have Dick Mills's "Thomas the Rhymer", which is awesome.

Robin Carmody, Friday, 23 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Tom:

"The kind of 'spacey' and 'weird' descriptions which lazily get attached to their music bother me, though"

And me - though something which annoys me perhaps even more is when people link *the whole* of the Workshop's output to some kind of Wilsonian "white heat of technology" ethos. I hear it in John Baker's work, obviously, from the titles down, but rarely anywhere else. Also when people only list the obvious people to have been influenced by the Workshop (the Pram / Broadcast / Plone continuum) without picking up on its wider echoes; Timbaland's production of "Try Again" and MBV's "Loveless" both pick up actually far more on the squelches, endlessly layers of sound, and interchanges between bass and melody line, that run through many of Baker's pieces. Basslines have been picked up on from all sources; Delia Derbyshire's "Pot Au Feu" has the rhythmic pulse of early house while John Baker's "Factors" is propelled by a bassline indistinguishable from that on Asian Dub Foundation's "Naxalite". That said, the subgenre of "frightening childlike music", which Pram have made their own, pretty much started with Delia; Broadcast sound like purists of the 58-64 era and Plone take their jauntiness from Roger Limb and their melancholia from Paddy Kingsland. And then there are the renegade one-offs; John Baker's fucking over of "O Come All Ye Faithful" with the noise of a till after each note and retitled "Christmas Commercial"; for a supposedly po-faced soundlab, this is the definition of pop's proud irreverence and disrespect for all holy source material.

You're right, though. I think it surprises certain people so much that such startling and unplaceable music was *written to order*, and funded by a public corporation (rather than some Romantic idea of The Unpaid, Starving Electronic Innovator) that they have to use lazy, cliched terms to express it because they can't get their head around it. Also, I think the "spacey" cliche may be down to people only being aware of the Dr Who music and not realising just how many different emotions and feelings were conveyed in the RW's output when the programme concerned required them.

Being constrained by writing for a purpose probably prevented the Workshop from succumbing to the worst excesses of prog-synth indulgence in the 70s; Delia's longer tracks like "Blue Veils And Golden Sands" and "The Delian Mode" are endlessly fascinating, but the more conventionally of-the-time Paddy Kingsland could go on too long when not writing for a purpose ("Vespucci", which was Kingsland pretty much indulging himself, is at least a minute too long). Some of his work sounds dated now, but "One-Eighty-One" is ferocious freakbeat worthy of Perry & Colombier, and he almost sounds at times like a kind of electronic folk fusionist; Kingsland's "Take Another Look" (written I think for some kind of nature / wildlife programme, and oh, you can tell) is essentially the Pentangle's "Light Flight" rendered electronically (a massive compliment, BTW), and as far from "the white heat of technology" as "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" is from "We Can Work It Out". His soundtrack to The Changes is unique and almost Arthurian in its resonance; what Mike Oldfield's "Hergest Ridge" would be if it wasn't so blandly, conventionally post-hippy and crap. In fact it's something of a scandal that you can buy "Hergest Ridge" in HMV but you can't buy The Changes soundtrack - hopefully Mark Ayres will bring justice about in the long term (he told me that The Changes is in his priority list).

And, yes, I will be adding all the above to my site :).

Robin Carmody, Friday, 23 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

I know less than nothing about this Radiophonic Workshop business, but those descriptions make it sound fascinating.

Patrick, Friday, 23 March 2001 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...
More information on the work of Delia Derbyshire can be found at http://www.deliaderbyshire.com . We're adding information/ MP3s and interview footage all the time.

As a note, the Tenth Planet release on Ochre doesn't contain Radiophonic Workshop material, but is a pretty fine release all the same. See http://www.ochre.co.uk

Mark Cola

DeliaDerbyshire.com, Sunday, 27 May 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Hello Mark, good to see you are with us. To be honest I think any RW thread deserves a plug for deliaderbyshire.com, it is such a magnificent piece of work. I really ought to have mentioned it myself by now, actually.

You might also like to know that I have been disgracefully lazy in my work compiling the site you suggested to me some time ago (he says, codifyingly).

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 27 May 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...
Robin (and other interested ILMers), just in case you haven't heard, Delia Derbyshire died a couple of days ago. R.I.P.

Andrew L, Friday, 6 July 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Indeed, Andrew. Even more poignant because I was discussing an exchange of her work with another ILM-er just the day before. I'll be putting a tribute on my site soon enough.

might as well use the real name now ..., Saturday, 7 July 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Hey people. Not really an answer here.. but can anyone tell me where I can get hold of the work of Paddy Kingsland? He's one of my all time favourite composers. I simply love his work on series such as Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who. As a musician, he's one of my greatest influences.. in fact.. any info on him and his music at all would be of great help to me. Please e-mail me.

Thanks for your time

Peter Wicks, Saturday, 7 July 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Well, he worked on the "realisation" of the stereo and Delaware versions of the Dr Who theme from 1972 which are available on the excellent "Dr Who at the Radiophonic Workshop Volume 2: 1970-1980" CD. Apart from that, you'll be hard pressed at the moment, though he did have a track called "The Earthmen" on the 1995 "Sound Gallery" album - I wonder whether that's still available? I think he also has tracks on old Bruton / KPM etc. library music albums, though I can't identify them offhand.

If you want me to copy for you his magical, almost neo-medieval 1973 album "The Fourth Dimension", and the other Kingsland stuff I have, mail me offlist. The quality varies, with some of the melodies sounding rather twee and overtly pretty, but at his best he's unmatchable in the "full arrangements and fairly conventional song structures" era of the RW. You might be interested in this: http://freespace.virgin.net/mark.campbell10/is22changeskingsland.htm

rpc, Saturday, 7 July 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...
Thanks for answering. Er.. I know I sounded a tad freakish in that message. ;)

Anyway, I've e-mailed you off-list and eagerly await a reply. Also, I managed to get "The Earthmen" track off a friend who had this CD. I *think* it's still available. I'm sure I almost bought it online once. ;)

It's a pretty groovy track.. I love it.

P Wicks, Tuesday, 7 August 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...
The Earthmen originally came from a Kigsland '74 LP on EMI Studio 2 called Supercharged. I picked a copy up earlier this year, it's mostly synthy covers of well known tunes, nothing spectacular. I'll gladly swap for a copy of the 1971 Radiophonic LP!!

ben*h, Tuesday, 2 October 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...
for all BBC radiophonic fans: just reviving this to say that tonight on BBC four (digital viewers only then) program abt them is to be boradcast at 9pm. I can't wait!

(though they do repeat docs originally broadcast on this digital channel on BBC two and I'm sure this will turn eventually)

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Sunday, 19 October 2003 12:46 (11 years ago) Permalink

I really enjoyed it. Pete Kember was one of the talking heads!!!

Many good bits. I liked how all the tapes post-83 were going to be dumped but actually were stored in a room near the BBC orchestra for nearly 15 years and remained there bcz no one bothered to order the skip.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 20 October 2003 09:09 (11 years ago) Permalink

My friend emailed me to tell me this was happening, 1) a day late and 2) when she KNOWS we don't have cable.

Fortunately, she taped it, so HSA and I will watch it and report back.

kate (kate), Monday, 20 October 2003 09:24 (11 years ago) Permalink

That documentary was brill. I love the idea of influential genius musicians being unsexy lab-coated eggheads with enough tape to stretch to Mars and back. That bit where someone (Derbyshire?) demonstrated how to use a wood thing, a bass string and a tape loop to get a rhythm going was supremely inspirational. The whole program has made me want to go round with my dictophone and record random things.

Anyone know where I can get a hold of that "Zwoooer oo-oo-oo" track? That sounded amazing on the program, but a quick scan of soulseek came up with nothing.

Johnney B (Johnney B), Monday, 20 October 2003 11:14 (11 years ago) Permalink

yeah i think it was derbyshire (I taped it anyway so i can check later).

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 20 October 2003 11:18 (11 years ago) Permalink

My enjoyment of this was marred by the irritating visage of (what I took to be) the interviewer/doc-writer looming in every shot. I might have to hunt out a CD, maybe look on amazon (as I am lazy). The power regulator robot chant would be nice to hear whole.

Alan (Alan), Monday, 20 October 2003 11:48 (11 years ago) Permalink

"Ziwzih Ziwzih OO-OO-OO" and many many sundry other treasures from the programme are on the BBC Radiophonic Music CD which came at the end of last year and is still gettable from amazon or wherever. I think I have it shared on slsk when I am there. The programme was glorious, I have been going round tapping pots all day and IMAGINING. The Ray Cathode/George Martin thing was neato revelation to me also.

Alex in Doncaster (Alex in Doncaster), Monday, 20 October 2003 11:57 (11 years ago) Permalink

haha yeah what the hell was that one abt (kind of lame attempt to give some 'weirdness' to the program)?! (think it was just some guy, I should look at the credits actually). Though i didn't mind it (esp liked when his head would go in and out of a dark background).

I think there was a CD retrospective issued and it was reviewed in the wire a few months back. I will check on that too.

I was thinking that ending on a place like that would be a dream (of sorts anyway).

x-post: wonder whether that ray cathode single made the charts (it was said that it sold a few copies but no chart placement was given).

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 20 October 2003 12:02 (11 years ago) Permalink

that bloke wasn't mentioned in the credits, don't think. There's lots of crazy theories being mentioned on other chat sites /lists about who it might have been, e.g. a Victor Lewis-Smith connection. He was k-scary actually

the other little trope / joke in the programme was the clock stuck at two minutes to eight (19:58, 1958, geddit?) - except sometimes it seemed to show a slightly different time

great stuff anyway

zebedee (zebedee), Monday, 20 October 2003 12:51 (11 years ago) Permalink

Johnney - Pete Kember used to run a website with Delia mp3s on it. Worth checking out if it's still up.

zebedee (zebedee), Monday, 20 October 2003 12:53 (11 years ago) Permalink

although it was the John Baker stuff that was the revelation of the programme for me. i need to get some of his stuff on CD

zebedee (zebedee), Monday, 20 October 2003 12:54 (11 years ago) Permalink

(note to self: stop using the word 'stuff')

zebedee (zebedee), Monday, 20 October 2003 12:56 (11 years ago) Permalink

"Time Beat" never made the charts (at that time a Top 50) - I've checked Guinness.

robin carmody (robin carmody), Monday, 20 October 2003 13:01 (11 years ago) Permalink

One of my lecturers at university was Malcolm Clarke (think that was his name) who was part of the Workshop team and i think he had a hand in the Dr Who theme, most likely one of the later era reworks. Classic.

stevem (blueski), Monday, 20 October 2003 13:17 (11 years ago) Permalink

if he was the Radiophonicist he would definitely have been Malcolm Clarke. which university was it?

robin carmody (robin carmody), Monday, 20 October 2003 13:26 (11 years ago) Permalink

Hertfordshire, and i saw him on the streets of St Albans a few times as well.

stevem (blueski), Monday, 20 October 2003 15:01 (11 years ago) Permalink

Well, we finally borrowed the tape of this. But, please, can someone tell me how it ended?

Because I think that the VCR of the person who taped it was slightly off its timer, because we got ten minutes of some godawful Matthew Barney documentary before it, and it cut off the last ten minutes. And they were just started to get into the restoration and archiving of the library bit!

The clock and the floating bloke in the background REALLY irritated me, it seemed to just take the piss out of what was otherwise a quite wonderful program - both loving and serious.

You should have seen HSA go into fits of lust at the oscillator banks, though. And whatever a wobulator is, I want one!

kate (kate), Monday, 27 October 2003 10:04 (11 years ago) Permalink

deliaderbyshire.org seems to have disappeared. Does anyone know where it's gone?

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Monday, 27 October 2003 20:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

11 months pass...
No - but http://www.deliaderbyshire.co.uk now accompanies the Standing Wave play that I'm going to try to catch at the Tron tomorrow. There are mp3s to download of specially commissioned responses to Delia Derbyshire's work.

Alba (Alba), Thursday, 21 October 2004 00:50 (10 years ago) Permalink

Hey! I saw Standing Wave last night!!! A bit stagey, but jolly spiffing in places!!!!

Old Fart!!! (oldfart_sd), Thursday, 21 October 2004 01:05 (10 years ago) Permalink

Ah good. My work colleague saw it last night too. She liked it.

Alba (Alba), Thursday, 21 October 2004 01:09 (10 years ago) Permalink

I liked how the Timelords (JAMMS) set the Dr. Who theme to "Rock & Roll Pt. 2" and then it was used on the show, at least once. A legal settlement perhaps? (I read somewhere the show is coming back into production; is the Workshop still working?)

don, Thursday, 21 October 2004 04:40 (10 years ago) Permalink

Workshop, according to the recent (and great) BBC4 documentary, is either closed or exists in name only these days.

great that the delia derbyshire website is back. nice to hear Moogies Bloogies again.

koogs (koogs), Thursday, 21 October 2004 09:12 (10 years ago) Permalink

Oh, right, yes:

http://www.delia-derbyshire.org for the real thing.

Alba (Alba), Thursday, 21 October 2004 09:15 (10 years ago) Permalink

Its closed - making music that way is too time consuming (and prob a bit crazy to do so).

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Thursday, 21 October 2004 12:37 (10 years ago) Permalink

The Timelords version of the Doctor Who theme never made it into the programme proper. A few documentaries and the like, but never the actual programme. And yeah, it's back next year, and all the news so far sounds very exciting. Including Billie Piper as the companion!

Ian Edmond (ianedmond), Thursday, 21 October 2004 15:28 (10 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...
is this the first time on Proper TV for this? i think it might be:

The Alchemists of Sound

Thu 8 Feb, 11:20 pm - 12:20 am 60mins

BBC FOUR on BBC TWO

Alchemists of Sound traces the rise and fall of the Radiophonic Workshop, an in-house department established in 1958 to provide extraordinary sounds and music for the BBC's TV and radio services. Best known for its theme tunes to Blake's Seven, Blue Peter, Open University and The Body in Question and, of course, Doctor Who, this documentary reveals the complex techniques deployed by the Workshop long before synthesisers were invented.

The programme is narrated by Oliver Postgate, the voice behind the childrens TV classics Ivor the Engine, The Clangers and Bagpuss. [AD,S]

Koogy Bloogies (koogs), Monday, 5 February 2007 16:43 (7 years ago) Permalink

A useful accompaniment to the official Delia Derbyshire site:

http://delia-derbyshire.cvol.net/

Not sure I approve of mp3s encoded from still-available CD releases but there you go.

zebedee (zebedee), Monday, 5 February 2007 17:26 (7 years ago) Permalink

Alchemists of Sound is a couple of years old now I think - it was one of the first things I ever downloaded from uknova. So I'd be surprised if it hasn't already aired on BBC2 at some point or other. It's very very good though.

JimD (JimD), Monday, 5 February 2007 17:33 (7 years ago) Permalink

Can anyone remember the name of the bloke who did the "special effects" for Dr. Who/Blake's 7 etc?

He used to appear on Swap Shop showing you how to make a Vorgon Cruiser out of washing up bottles etc. Matt something IIRC.

He was a bizarre parallel of the RWS, with the same aesthetic of economically-restricted grandiose futurisism

Phil Knight (PhilK), Monday, 5 February 2007 21:51 (7 years ago) Permalink

Mat Irvine
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0410203/

Koogy Bloogies (koogs), Tuesday, 6 February 2007 09:41 (7 years ago) Permalink

Ah yes! Thanks Koogy, it's all coming back now........

Phil Knight (PhilK), Tuesday, 6 February 2007 17:23 (7 years ago) Permalink

8 months pass...

Can anyone identify this snippet? Sounds Radiophonic to me.

http://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=181C446376667DE0

Alba, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 18:37 (7 years ago) Permalink

Does anyone have a copy of the BBC doc mentioned upthread they'd be willing to share? I can trade for something like my DVD-R of "The Changes"(w/ Paddy Kingsland music. Quite awesome.) Really wanna see this!

Capitaine Jay Vee, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 18:45 (7 years ago) Permalink

Alba - hi,
fairly certain your mystery tune is raymond scott- something off teh "manhattan research" 2cd set which is indeed very radiophonic

bob snoom, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 19:37 (7 years ago) Permalink

Fantastic, bob. Just checked the snippets on the Amazon page and it is indeed "Portofino" by Scott.

In the course of all that I found an ILM thread in which I noted that I really want to hear his stuff, about four years ago ...

Thanks.

Alba, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 20:13 (7 years ago) Permalink

Portofino 2, rather.

Alba, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 20:13 (7 years ago) Permalink

If the Radiophonic Workshop documentary is "Alchemists of Sound", the whole thing's on youtube in several chunks. (Not to discourage anyone from offering a better quality version or anything, but I watched it on there a while ago. Wonderful 60s footage of Delia Derbyshire in the studio speaking with one of those very precise/nervous accents that don't exist any more.)

a passing spacecadet, Thursday, 25 October 2007 09:33 (7 years ago) Permalink

I want this
http://www.discogs.com/release/212869

Can't they re-press/release it on CD?

And you'd think they might notice that this goes for £40 and keep it in print! Or does BBC Records even exist still?
http://www.discogs.com/release/173394

Did anyone hear BLUE VEILS AND GOLDEN SANDS, the Radio 4 play about Delia Derbyshire's life? I only heard about half of it at the time, but it was reallu good, as I remember. I wonder if you can listen to it anywhere still.

Jamie T Smith, Thursday, 25 October 2007 10:25 (7 years ago) Permalink

Well you can get it on this:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Doctor-Who-BBC-Plays-Audio/dp/1846070449

The other two plays sound dreadful, though!

Jamie T Smith, Thursday, 25 October 2007 10:39 (7 years ago) Permalink

there's a lot of overlap between the 4x10" and that cd. the vinyl is a couple of minutes too long to fit on a single cd, i ended up dropping the delia derbyshire bits because i had them on another cd somewhere.

i also have a copy of alchemists of sound but it's only a half-pal avi. must look out for a repeat and do it again properly.

the tomorrow people soundtrack is still available, the first white noise lp is just about to get a deluxe re-release and the first two doctor who at the bbc cds are still available, i think (yes, a tenner on amazon)

koogs, Thursday, 25 October 2007 12:27 (7 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

i recorded "alchemists" earlier this year -- february, in fact -- and have just got round to watching it today.

it's probably one of the best documentaries, if not pieces of television, i've ever seen. i don't know where to begin with it: the aesthetic, the research, the anecdotes, the sheer levels of mind-boggling genius contained within. o, and sonic boom, too!

there's a certain aesthetic that absolutely fascinates me yet is hard to quantify -- if anyone can explain what ties together my love (for example) of british modernist and brutalist architecture, public-information films from the 1950s to early 1980s and the mkI human league, feel free -- and so much of the workshop's output fits into that perfectly. i have to get hold of some of their stuff ... i assume there are collections out there?

as for the documentary itself ... it's stuck on my bloody humax and i need to work out a way of getting it off, 'cos that's a keeper.

wow. just ... awesome.

grimly fiendish, Wednesday, 21 November 2007 17:58 (6 years ago) Permalink

hmm! even despite mark ayres's re-releases in 2002, this stuff isn't exactly easy to get hold of :(

grimly fiendish, Wednesday, 21 November 2007 18:16 (6 years ago) Permalink

fantastic. thank you. i shan't do anything with it right now because, er, my bandwidth is rather tied up with something else :)

grimly fiendish, Wednesday, 21 November 2007 18:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...
5 months pass...

http://www.mute.com/artists/publicArtistLoad.do?id=36105&forward=fullDiscography

release of 3 (2 reissues, 1 new compilation?) Workshop cds on 3rd nov.

no tracklistings given but the originals are here:
http://www.discogs.com/release/173394
http://www.discogs.com/release/173397

koogs, Sunday, 5 October 2008 10:09 (6 years ago) Permalink

hmm. i devoted many hours to downloading as much of that stuff as i could find. it wasn't easy. this is pretty joyous news.

right, we all start when the drum machine starts, lads (grimly fiendish), Sunday, 5 October 2008 11:58 (6 years ago) Permalink

http://www.amazon.co.uk/BBC-Radiophonic-Workshop-Retrospective/dp/B001GISONU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1224156834&sr=8-3

Assuming that tracklisting's good, that's going to be worth getting hold of. Plenty of tracks from '21', and a selection of stuff from 'The Changes'.

Hope it's right.

chad yellowhammer, Thursday, 16 October 2008 11:36 (6 years ago) Permalink

that's blindingly good. i managed to get hold of 21, but i'd certainly shell out for that.

easy, lionel (grimly fiendish), Thursday, 16 October 2008 21:36 (6 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

AWESOME

Sorry its only up for another day....

Plaxico (I know, right?), Friday, 26 December 2008 20:58 (5 years ago) Permalink

I love the Mastered By Guy at the Exchange-type stuff.

Plaxico (I know, right?), Friday, 26 December 2008 21:21 (5 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

New Tristram Cary lp out on trunk.
http://www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=281201

koogs, Friday, 26 March 2010 13:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

"new"

koogs, Friday, 26 March 2010 13:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

love this, needs more rapping tho.

Sir Chips Keswick (Merdeyeux), Saturday, 30 July 2011 23:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...
5 months pass...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00g15x3

Sat 14 Jul 2012 09:00 BBC Radio 4 Extra
Sat 14 Jul 2012 19:00 BBC Radio 4 Extra
(it's a repeat from 2008)

Richard Coles tells the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop's extraordinary story.

In 1958 an extraordinary musical laboratory opened at the BBC. It was called the Radiophonic Workshop and provided music and sound for a wealth of BBC programmes, from The Goons to Dr Who.

With contributions from Coldcut, Dick Mills and Mark Ayres, Richard Coles explores the achievements of the unit and presents a carefully chosen selection of programmes showcasing the department's work:

The Dreams (05/01/1964)
The Goons (02/02/1959)
Inferno Revisited (17/04/1983)
Relativity (1974)
Electric Tunesmiths (30/12/1971)
Bath Time (1976)

koogs, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

This is SUCH a tune:

I wish to incorporate disco into my small business (chap), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

the Daphne Oram exhibit runs just a few more months at the Science Museum in London -

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/ORAMICS

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 00:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Mark G, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 08:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19568120

The BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, which created theme tunes and sound effects for programmes including Doctor Who and Blake's 7, is to reopen after 14 years.

Composer Matthew Herbert, known for his use of "found sounds", has been appointed creative director.

One of his first commissions is a "sonic memorial" to the BBC's Bush House building which, until recently, was the home of the World Service.

The original workshop was known for its pioneering use of electronic sounds.

Founded in 1958, it was best-known for creating the eerie swoosh of the Doctor Who theme tune, but its compositions were also used in numerous radio dramas, The Goon Show and The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

As well as music, the workshop created sound effects - from champagne corks popping to the distorted, strangulated voices of the Daleks.

While the first workshop was based in the BBC's Maida Vale studios, the new incarnation will live online, at The Space, a new digital arts service developed by the Arts Council and the BBC.

Herbert will lead "seven fellow cutting-edge collaborators" in making new sounds and music

Mark G, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 08:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

REPLACE MURRAY GOLD WITH THE SOUND OF A DEAD PIG

┐(´ー`)┌ (sic), Wednesday, 12 September 2012 09:27 (2 years ago) Permalink


I imagine this is what Kraftwerk's accountant looks like.

Emeritus Professor of LOLology (snoball), Wednesday, 12 September 2012 10:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

Anyone going to this:
http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/events/talks/electronic_music.aspx ?

Jeff W, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 11:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

Just for fun:
http://webaudio.prototyping.bbc.co.uk/

Zweitgeist (doo dah), Friday, 21 December 2012 01:49 (1 year ago) Permalink

haha, there's a konami code on the ring modulator that lets you use a live input.

wk, Friday, 21 December 2012 02:32 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

1/7

OutdoorFish, Tuesday, 18 February 2014 18:49 (8 months ago) Permalink

OutdoorFish, Tuesday, 18 February 2014 18:50 (8 months ago) Permalink

OutdoorFish, Tuesday, 18 February 2014 18:51 (8 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

http://theradiophonicworkshop.co.uk/file/do_come_in.html

was going to go to the Glasgow gig this evening - get well soon Dr Mills

Ward Fowler, Friday, 21 March 2014 12:15 (7 months ago) Permalink


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