The Null Device

The lost Delia Derbyshire tapes

A previously unknown cache of audio recordings made by BBC Radiophonic Workshop composer Delia Derbyshire has come to light. The tapes, recorded in the 1960s, include a sketch for a documentary score, using cut-up fragments of Derbyshire's voice as an oboe-like instrument. Most interesting, though, is a fragment, introduced by Derbyshire as "for interest only", consisting of a few bars of glitchy electronic beats in 5/4 time, with a pad sound. (The fact that all this was made without synthesisers as we know them, but with purpose-built arrangements of circuits, makes it even more impressive.) The fragment sounds like modern IDM; if someone told you it was a Warp release from the 1990s, you'd believe it. The world of the late 1960s, though, wasn't ready for IDM, hence Derbyshire's dismissal of it.
"I find it spell-binding," says Hartnoll. "I've got a shedload of synthesizers and equipment, whereas Delia Derbyshire got out of the Radiophonic Workshop when synthesizers came along. I think she got a bit disheartened and a bit bored with it all when the synthesizer came along and it all became a little too easy."

There are 1 comments on "The lost Delia Derbyshire tapes":

Posted by: ctime Fri Jul 18 18:07:44 2008

Good stuff, ready for my own perverted sampling binges. This reminds me of the primitive home grown oscillator-based music produced by the Silver Apples in the late 60's. To think how far electronic music has come since those days is amazing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Apples

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