Delia Derbyshire, UK electronic composer extraordinaire and BBC Radiophonic Veteran, inspires depths of love and respect from us electronic muzos male and female that defy description. As Tara Busch from AnalogSuicide puts it, people aren’t just fans: they’re Delians. I think if you could see the image inside the heads of Delia fans at the mere mention of her name or the sound of a single sound effect, it’d probably look something like this slow-motion clip Tara posted to AnalogSuicide last fall:

(Well, the editor at the BBC working on the show obviously felt that way.)

Via: We Love Delia! More Delia Derbyshire Deliciousness! [Analog Suicide]

I think people’s passions run this deep not simply out of a mad Delian crush, but also because of what she represents for the future of electronic music: Delia Derbyshire seemed to embrace sound with a relentless freshness and playfulness, the kind of spirit that could move forward the future of music in the same way she invigorated its past. And she came out of an entire scene of experimentation at the BBC and in the UK that could now spread virally online and in radiophonic workshops of independent musicians’ own creation.

Darren Landrum on Twitter is nice enough to send along two three newly-posted 1997 interviews with Delia on Radio Scotland. First part above; second part below. In YouTube bizarro fashion, they’re accompanied with strange sweeping slide shows, but Delia’s bubbling personality and insight shine through.

But perhaps you want to wear your Delian adoration on your sleeve, literally. Well, Analog Industries created a t-shirt this morning that, by the time Tom Whitwell (once and future Music thing creator) and myself Twittered and forum commenters posted, is now gone. Look out, Urban Outfitters.

Anyone want to try alternative Derbyshire couture? (Delia Derbyshirts?) Let us know; I have some screenprinting connections.

Sold out about as quickly as announced. Next up: I expect Delia Derbyshire t-shirts at Hot Topic.

Part two of the interview:

Plus part three:

And for some Delian sonic creations, here’s her 1972 “Wizard’s Laboratory.” Listening to her work via YouTube videos is not ideal, so I must say I’m rather keen for some disc releases we can buy. But, on the other hand, the montage of who’s who in women in electronic music can serve as a reminder that dudes alone did not construct electronic music history – not unless you ignore a cadre of some of electronic music’s greatest pioneers.

And lastly, for all our friends at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, here’s a 50th Anniversary of the workshop, also via a previous Analog Suicide post.

Delia Derbyshire Recordings Found, Including Ahead-of-its-Time Dance Track
Archivist Responds: Yes, Virginia, Delia Derbyshire Really Was That Awesome
Music Tech History Day: Inside BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Delia’s Lampshade
Delia Derbyshire: Reel-to-Reel Beat Matching Virtuosa
Doctor Who Theme: Behind the Scenes, Hear the Themes

Apologies; looking at this post, we have some very odd YouTube thumbnails. But it’s worth it for a listen to some of the sounds.

  • arvin clay

    Well… dammit.

    Had I known that those were available I would have purchased one straight away.

  • There's actually a third part to the Radio Scotland interview:

    Sorry if I didn't make that clear on Twitter. Sometimes, 140 characters really isn't enough. 🙂

  • And yes, I sent in my email to reserve a shirt, too, and it doesn't appear I was fast enough. We can all only hope for a second run.

  • Thanks, Darren. Part three, added.

  • "…so I must say I'm rather keen for some disc releases we can buy".

    You might still be able to get hold of the rereleased library LP Electrosonic, plus there's all the recent BBC Radiophonic Workshop retrospectives that were out on Mute recently.

    We went to a thing in Coventry (Delia's birthplace in the UK) last year that celebrated all things radiophonic, and there was a chap speaking there that now lives in Delia's old house, and he had found loads of her old things tucked away in the attic, including a tiny child-size gas mask with Delia's name on it. Yes, that was slightly disturbing…

  • Had wanted one of those shirts too. Also hoping for a second run. Listened through all the Derbyshire tracks I got as solace.

  • Woohoo! I got my t-shirt coming after all! Thank you ever so much, Mr. Randall.

  • Oh, dear… I just watched the "women of electronic music" video, and it showed a picture of Pauline Oliveros. I actually got to see her perform live at a local college back when I was still living in Colorado Springs. She performed three different works purely on her specially-tuned accordion, getting all sorts of beat frequencies out of it.

    My friend and I (he's the one who actually owned her records) then got to chat with her for a few minutes afterward. She was very friendly and approachable, and she told us a little about working at the SF Tape Music Center.

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  • I would really, really like to apologize for monopolizing and serial posting in the comments, but I have some more Delia-related stuff to link to.

    She was also a part of a band called White Noise in the late '60s, with David Vorhaus. Here are some Youtube vids of some of their songs:


    Here Come the Fleas
    (definitely never mind the stupid video for this one)

    Love Without Sound

    Your Hidden Dreams

    My Game of Loving
    (this one contains adult content right in the song; you have been warned – again, never mind the dumb video)

    And independent of White Noise, here's something called "Effervescence":


  • kj

    i can't help but notice that the cult of delia, of which i am a full-fledged participant in, mind you, is at lwast partly based on the fact that delia, say unlike daphne oram was cute. she looked like an indie pop chick from the early 90's, for chrissakes!

    it's both interesting and kinda sad that it helps in all forms of media to be physically attractive, if you're a woman. not to take anything away from delia's genius. that is beyond dispute. just sayin'…

  • The first time I saw her, I thought she was quite plain-looking. Not ugly, by any means, but not terribly attractive. It was when I heard her speak that I became enamored of her. Her intelligence really came through in every word she said.

    Well, that, and I love her accent. 🙂

  • I don't know Delia but am glad to be made aware. Great that all this material is made available today.

    I have to mention Else Marie Pade, a Danish composer with a somewhat similar history. She was a part of the first wave of musique concrète, and used the national broadcasting service as a tape music and proto-electronic music lab in the fifties and sixties. She was discovered by younger composers / musicians in the last decade, and has had several reissues of her works as well as reinterpretations by younger artists. I'm glad that she's also still around to see this.


    Five streaming works:…

  • Hello CDM!!! Thank you for the mention – "Delians" are everywhere indeed 🙂

    Delia is a tremendous influence on many !!! There are some wonderful things out there that only scratch the surface of her brilliance.

    One of my favorites is this interview with Sonic Boom:

    She's simply brilliant.

  • I stumbled upon your page thanks to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop group on Facebook and found one of my old interviews with my late friend Delia. This is fine by me, as I’m pleased that her voice is heard by people interested in her work.
    What I’m less happy with is the t-shirt, suppoesedly “created” by Analog Industries. To put it bluntly, this design is ripped off from the t-shirts I had made to go with the release of the Electrosonic album in 2006. The design has been lifted from art I commissioned by Iker Spozio without any permission being sought. I have forwarded the page to him to see what he makes of it. Whether the copyright to this image is held by him or me I’m not quite sure. One thing I’m certain of is this: the person(s) selling this t-shirt do not own any copyright to Iker Spozio’s work and as he makes a living creating poster and record sleeve art, such things are an important consideration. Take note: you’re not ripping off anything corporate here and this is not fair game for piracy.

  • hello
    i'm a musician working under the name Colleen on the English record label The Leaf Label.
    Since 2004 i've been working closely with Iker Spozio who designs all my artwork, and like John Cavanagh i'm absolutely APPALLED that anyone can make t-shirts with a design they know full well doesn't belong to them and is copyrighted, and even BOAST that they're sold out !!!
    How about asking for permission and sending some of the money you've made to the person whose work you've ripped off without even telling them anything ??? and didn't you think that he and his friends and collaborators would find out ???
    i read on this website that "CDM is the creation of Peter Kirn, a composer, musician, media artist, and author", and so-called "artists" ripping off other artists is indeed worse than big corporations doing it.
    please do NOT buy those t-shirts.
    and if you want to see iker spozio's artwork and creations go here

  • Making money out of dead pioneers. Good show. Where's your Che Guevara and Charlie Chaplin ones?
    Are you somehow the Delia Derbyshire brand guardian?

    Posting a couple of BBC Radiophonic movies to flog your T's is not good enough pal.

    You should know better. Or at least get yourself a stall down Camden.