Tuesday, 18 May 2010
RADIOPHONIC MONTH: Oh, what an atmosphere
Listening to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s 1976 album ‘Out Of This World’ was probably my first avant garde experience.
Split into four sections, each providing ‘atmospheres and soundtracks’ for a particular theme, at first I just loved the cover (and what’s not to love? All human and inhuman life is there) as I found the short, sometimes formless blasts of electronic noise were too far from my experience of conventional music for me to really understand.
Once my ears got used to it, I became obsessed with the creepy and occasionally disturbing sounds of ‘Suspense and the Supernatural’, which slotted in nicely with my other over-riding interests of the time: Hammer Films, horror comics and dark and musty wax museums (yes, in hindsight, I was obviously a pretty disturbed child).
Now, as an only moderately disturbed adult, I’m more drawn to the longer, ambient tracks that are part of ‘The Elements’ suite. Many of the great and the good of the Workshop are represented here: Delia Derbyshire, David Cain, John Baker, and the music is evocative and often very beautiful.
It’s difficult to pick out individual tracks as many of them are only a few seconds long, so I’ve whipped up a little ten minute mix from across the whole LP that should give you a flavour of what I’m on about.
I’m still obsessed with Hammer Films, horror comics and dark and musty wax museums, by the way, so there may be some scary bits en route.
Download it here, approximate track listing in comments.