Archivist Responds: Yes, Virginia, Delia Derbyshire Really Was That Awesome

A sadly out-of-print album of Delia Derbyshire’s music, with Brian Hodgson, Don Harper. It came as no surprise to me that Delia Derbyshire, composer and BBC Radiophonic Workshop maestra, would have created incredibly forward-thinking music in the 60s. But when one track seemed to predict IDM and modern electronica, the story of Derbyshire’s vintage “dance” track spread over the Interwebs, and even aroused suspicion of fakery. Delia Derbyshire Recordings Found, Including Ahead-of-its-Time Dance Track David Butler of the University of Manchester was one of two archivists who started undertaking the work of assembling a library of Derbyshire’s ground-breaking work. He …

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Delia Derbyshire Recordings Found, Including Ahead-of-its-Time Dance Track

Here’s some very good news from the UK: pioneering electronic music composer, sound designer, BBC Radiophonic  virtuosa and Doctor Who theme creator Delia Derbyshire left us more recordings than previously thought. Some 267 tracks of music and documentation were found in her attic. The Radiophonic Workshop’s Mark Ayres – who has been single-handedly leading the charge to make sure the Workshop’s place in history is safe – had been preserving them. But now this archive will be a “living archive,” meaning, at last, we should get to hear them and new music will be commissioned for the archive from musicians …

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Music Tech History Day: Inside BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Delia’s Lampshade

The UK electronic music scene lost its pioneer Tristram Cary this week, so it’s the perfect time to look back again at the marvels of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Low-budget but long-running Doctor Who is unlikely to be remembered for breaking new ground in, say, fancy props, sets, or visual effects (though they did plenty with what they had). But when it comes to sound and music, the BBC’s DIY approach to sound, ranging from Who to "serious" classical music (even my composition teacher Thea Musgrave worked there) remains significant today. The BBC is again offering a look inside the …

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Projection Inspiration: BBC Researches Projecting in Surround

The picture says it all. BBC Research & Innovation is considering presenting video in surround. Just as audio surround assumes a still-central source, enhanced by additional material in the 360-degree audio field, the idea here is to capture ambient visuals using a fish-eye lens and then project that beyond the screen. Of course, whatever the (uh, dubious, potentially) practical applications of such technology, there are plenty of compelling directions this could lead VJs. In general, the ability to control more of the environment and break out of the rectangular frame helps live visuals and installations. And there are other consumer, …

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Future of Music Tech, As Envisioned by BBC Comedy Writers

The hilarious send-up of educational films that was Look Around You: Music was only the beginning. BBC comedy show Look Around You has its own fantastic website filled with still more goodies. And it gives us a much clearer idea of the future of music technology than, say, a teaser from Moog. Readers have been sending in “Life in the Year 2000” entries, which include the five-string bass guitar, sex changes using Bach violin concertos, and my personal favorite, Halson Hoek’s invention that improves your keyboard chops by sending electrical shocks through metal gauntlets. At this point, that might be …

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Look Around You: Mock BBC Educational Program on Music

This dead-on send-up of British educational programming takes a look at the world of music and music-making, from that music you young people like so much (“the Bensons, or the Ombudsman”) to the “Harrington 1200” music synth shown here, which you’ve probably never seen “because it costs almost a thousand pounds.” (Boy, would that you could get a Harrington for so little. Circuit benders and vintage synth collectors recently drove up the price to almost $50,000 on eBay.) Enjoy! Look Around You: Music [QuickTime video, DevilyDucky.com]

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More Free Beethoven Orchestras (Limited Time)

It’s nice to see the Web abuzz about digital music downloads of one of the great geniuses of all time, instead of, you know, just another that mash-up. In that spirit, I point you to BBC’s Radio 3 for hours of great weekend listening: Beethoven Symphonies 6-9, BBC Radio Orchestra They’re quite decent recordings, though if you really love them you’ll probably want the uncompressed CD BBC will release. Gianandrea Noseda really ripped through Beethoven 5, and now some of Ludwig van’s mature masterpieces are in store. But act now, because starting Monday July 4, the downloads will start to …

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CDM Radio Pick: Free Beethoven, New Music – Radio 3

CDM Radio of the Week For music, you can’t beat the Beeb, and the UK radio conglomerate is now easy to hear in the rest of the world thanks to some of the best net radio support on the Earth. Just don’t overlook the high-brow Radio 3 because you think it might be stuffy. Quite the contrary; check out some highlights: Beethoven’s symphonies are available for free download for a limited time. (Right now 1-5 are there as MP3s; others later this month. Played by the BBC Phil, of course!) New Music section features a message board and some hip …

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Original Hitchhiker’s Guide: Radiophonic Blockbuster

Visuals? Who needs visuals? The original Hitchhiker’s Guide radio show was evocative enough in sound to evoke the bizarre otherworldly imagination of Douglas Adams: close your eyes, listen to the wizardry of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (the same team that worked on Doctor Who), and it was all there. For fans of the radio show, even Adams’ book version wasn’t quite as good; little wonder the show inspired listeners to become audio engineers. If you haven’t heard the radio show, there’s still time — and the movie is ultimately different enough that it wouldn’t spoil much. Dave’s Imaginary Sound Space …

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