Saturday, April 26, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP
BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, pioneers of electronic music & sound effects, would have been 50 years old this month if the Beeb hadn't dismantled it ten years ago. No matter - celebrations are afoot, such as plans for a boxed cd set, and:
this great article and video revealing how, among other things, a lampshade became an integral part of electronic music history.
The bad news: the recent death of the Radiophonic Workshop's Tristram Cary: "...credited by some as the father of tape music, originating tape music techniques in World War II. He’s notorious to the general public and sci fi fans as the composer of the music for the Daleks (pictured above, with pug) in Doctor Who (along with other music) — like an evil counterpart to Delia Derbyshire, who built the studio Cary would later use."
Tristram Cary "Trios" (excerpt) - from 1971; performers rolled dice to determine what parts they would play.
Bebe Barron, another pre-Moog great, also died recently. "The 1956 sci-fi thriller Forbidden Planet was the first major motion picture to feature an all-electronic film score — a soundtrack that predated synthesizers and samplers. It was like nothing the audience had seen — or heard. The composers were two little-known and little-appreciated pioneers in the field of electronic music, Louis and Bebe Barron." From the score to Forbidden Planet:
Love at the Swimming Hole - a romantic ballad
Battle With The Invisible Monster
I've always been a fan of the "Forbidden Planet" soundtrack (I taped it off the tv years ago) but have never seen any other recordings by them. Are there any? Supposedly they scored some short avant-garde films, but I couldn't find them on the YouTubes. However, you can see:
Sukho Lee of one of my fave local (Los Angeles) bands Seksu Roba, performing a boss tribute to "Forbidden Planet" to mark it's 50th anniversary on his tricked-out theremin.
And, right on time, Boston's dj BC has just released a dandy on-line remix/mashup tribute to the pioneers of electronic music called
which actually tames these notoriously abstract sounds by looping them into something approaching head-nodding accessibility, such as this take on Hugh Le Caine's 1955 piece:
djBC: Dripsody (remix)
Terry Riley, Jon Hassel, and others also get the treatment.