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.


Unmann-Wittering said...

Dick Mills: Electric Door Open
Roger Limb: Magic Beanstalk Grows
Malcolm Clarke: Magic Mushroom
Roger Limb: Passing Clouds
Brian Hodgson: Laser Gun, Five Bursts
Dick Mills: Sea of Mercury
Malcolm Clarke: Passing Shade
Malcolm Clarke / John Baker: Andromedan War Machine / Rising Bubbles
Delia Derbyshire: Phantoms of Darkness
Malcolm Clarke: Terror Glissando
Brian Hodgson: Roaring Monster
Malcolm Clarke: Evil Rises Up
Malcolm Clarke: Casting A Spell / Fairy Disappears
John Baker: Venusian Space Lab
Delia Derbyshire: Heat Haze
Roger Limb: Desert Sands
Dick Mills: Fiendish Shrieks
Glynis Jones: Magic Bird Song
Dick Mills: Nightmare Forest
John Baker: Watery Depths

King Modulator said...

very nice indeed...

not particularly Radiophonic compared to this LP but I can thoroughly recommend "Death & Horror" in this series. once played a very enjoyable game of "Guess The Act Of Violence" with a pal at the end of long weekend whilst listening to it. the better halves were not impressed...

the cover art is truly something to behold as well - every gruesome act & beastie you could possibly think of rendered in the finest "care in the community" crayon & watercolour.

and followed of course by the charmingly named "More Death & Horror"...