Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001)

Electrosonic (1972)
  1. Quest
  2. Quest (Fast)
  3. Computermatic
  4. Frontier To Knowledge
  5. The Pattern Emerges
  6. Freeze Frame
  7. Plodding Power
  8. Busy Microbes
  9. Liquid Energy
  10. Liquid Energy (Bubbling Rhythm)
  11. No Man's Land
  12. Depression
  13. Nightwalker
  14. Electrostings
  15. Electrobuild
  16. Celestial Cantabile
  17. Effervescence
  18. The Wizards Laboratory
  19. Shock Chords

Electrosonic (aka KPM1104) is a 1972 KPM Library record electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire made with Brian Hodgson and Don Harper while moonlighting from day jobs at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. One of the most enigmatic albums in the KPM sound library of the early 70s,a haunting batch of spare electronic tracks by Delia Derbyshire, who is best remembered for her musical work for the Dr Who! television series. The tracks here are far more mellow and contemplative than her previous work. Most numbers are short and built around simple, spare themes played by Delia with a gently flowing approach that's often quite melodic, even though the tunes themselves echo with a fair bit of darkness. The overall sound isn't as funky as you might expect from other KPM releases, but it more than makes up for that with an incredible array of sounds, techniques, and odd little notes, all of which come across with a "voice" that's far different than some of Delia's better known electronic music contemporaries.

Dreams (1964)
  1. Running
  2. Falling
  3. Land
  4. Sea
  5. Colour
  6. Outro
""Dreams" was made in collaboration with Barry Bermange (who originally recorded the narrations). Bermange put together The Dreams (1964), a collage of people describing their dreams, set to a background of electronic sound. Dreams is a collection of spliced/reassembled interviews with people describing their dreams, particularly recurring elements. The program of sounds and voices attempts to represent, in five movements, some sensations of dreaming: running away, falling, landscape, underwater, and colour.

from Radiophonic Workshop 21 (1979)
  1. Time on our hands (1962)
  2. Arabic Science and History (1962)
  3. Know Your Car (1963)
  4. Doctor Who (1963)
  5. Talk Out (1964)
  6. Science and Health (1964)
  7. A New View of Politics (1966)
  8. Environmental Studies (1969)
  9. Chronicle (1969)
  10. Great Zoos of the World (1969)

BBC Radiophonic Workshop - 21 was a compilation by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to celebrate their 21st anniversary in 1979. It was compiled as an overview of their work both old and new, showcasing the changes in the Workshop as they developed from backroom sound effects suppliers for BBC Radio to full-fledged in-house music composers for the whole of the corporation. It demonstrates the move from the musique concrète and tape-manipulation techniques used in the early days, to the synthesiser works of the 1970s. The first side of the album consisted of material from 1958 to 1971, covering their early work creating jingles, sound-effects and some incidental music. This side includes the first material by Workshop founder Desmond Briscoe to be commercially released, as well as sound effects from The Goon Show, Maddalena Fagandini's interval signal that later became "Time Beat", some of Delia Derbyshire's experimental work and the pilot episode version of the Doctor Who theme music. The second side of the record covered the period between 1971–1979, including Richard Yeoman-Clark material from popular BBC series Blake's 7 and Peter Howell's vocoder heavy "Greenwich Chorus" theme for The Body in Question.

Label: BBC Records & Tapes
Cat: REC354

Various Tracks

Delia Derbyshire and Anthony Newley - Moogies Bloogies (1966)

An unreleased perv-pop classic in the 1966 novelty vein, recorded with Anthony Newley. The future Mr Joan Collins was after an electronic backing track and called in Delia (he wasn't alone - Paul McCartney considered using Delia's electronic backing for Yesterday before using a string quartet). Delia said of this track: "I'd written this beautiful little innocent tune, all sensitive love and innocence, and he made it into a dirty old raincoat song. But he was really chuffed!" Sadly Newley decamped to Hollywood before he could progress beyond this demo recording.

Dance from Noah (circa 1971)

Label: EMS Records
Cat: none
Flexidisc given away with EMS Synthi brochures

John Peel Presents Top Gear (1969)

John Peel's Voice Treated by Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson
Label: BBC
Cat: REC52S


Sculptress Of Sound - The Lost Works Of Delia Derbyshire (2010)

Duration: 60 minutes
BBC Radio 4

The broadcaster and Doctor Who fan MATTHEW SWEET travels to The University of Manchester - home of Delia Derbyshire's private collection of audio recordings - to learn more about the wider career and working methods of the woman who realised Ron Grainer's original theme to Doctor Who.

Delia's collection of tapes was, until recently, in the safekeeping of MARK AYRES, archivist for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Matthew meets up at Manchester University with Mark, along with Delia's former colleagues from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, BRIAN HODGSON and DICK MILLS - plus former 'White Noise' band member DAVID VORHAUS - to hear extracts from the archive, discuss their memories of Delia and the creative process behind some of her material. Her realisation of the Doctor Who theme is just one small example of her genius and we'll demonstrate how the music was originally created as well as hearing individual tracks from Delia's aborted 70's version. We'll also feature the make up tapes for her celebrated piece 'Blue Veils and Golden Sands', and hear Delia being interviewed on a previously 'lost' BBC recording from the 1960s. Matthew's journey of discovery will take in work with the influential poet Barry Bermange, as well as her 1971 piece marking the centenary of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

This Archive on 4 is brought up to date with an individual track from 'The Dance' from the children's programme 'Noah'. Recorded in the late 1960s this remarkable tape sounds like a contemporary dance track which wouldn't be out of place in today's most 'happening' trance clubs.

Producer: Phil Collinge.


BBC Radiophonic Workshop: The Alchemists of Sound in UbuWeb Sound