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by Divergent Artists

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I'd heard about the Radiophonic workshop and I said "Oh, I want to go there"
"I used to work all night [at night, I could use all of the studio's equipment] but this loop I made in the middle of the day. It went out through the double doors and then through the next pair, just opposite the ladies' toilet and reception -- the longest corridor in London with the longest tape loop. The feeling of it growing quite slowly. When you hear it for the first time, when it's put together, it's such a delight."
"I was so keen! I went there on my days off, just observing, so that's where I learned about tape manipulation."
" I did rebel against a lot of... ah hah. Yes, I did. I did all sorts of things I was told I couldn't do and yes, I think I've always been a very independent thinker."
"I was told in no uncertain terms that the BBC does not employ composers and so it was only by kind of infiltrating the system that I managed to do music."
""I began by interpreting the actual letters, I.E.E. one hundred, in two different ways. The first one in a morse code version using the morse for I.E.E.100. This I found extremely dull, rhythmically, and so I decided to use the full stops in between the I and the two E's because full stop has a nice sound to it: it goes di-dah di-dah di-dah."
""I did try to use electronic sound wherever possible."
"It was the doing of it that was the pleasure, really. I can still hear beautiful things in my mind and I know how I can make more beautiful things, too. That's the important thing."
"I was really very shocked at what I had to do in the course of so-called duty."
"I was in Coventry yesterday for the Doctor Who convention and somebody very cleverly said to me, because they knew I was born and bred in Coventry, "Coventry born, bred and blitzed."
"And so I got to work and put it all together. It was a magic experience because I couldn't see from the music how it was going to sound."
"The air raid sirens. It's an abstract sound because you don't know the source of it as a young child. And then the all-clear. That's electronic music."
""I did all sorts of things I was told I couldn't do and, yes, I think I've always been an independent thinker but I must say that I go back to first principles when it comes to music. I go back to the Greeks and the original, simple harmonic series. I think that's a very healthy thing to do for anyone."
"You should see my last birthday card. It's a lovely one from America with a whole shoal of fishes with their mouths turned down, fishes in silhouette, and one fish running, swimming the other way with a smile on its face and printed on the card was "To an Independent Thinker". I think that sums me up."
"Once I read in the Radio Times that the Radiophonic Workshop existed I was thrilled to bits."
""I think my forte is, well, apart from having an analytical mind to do electronic sound, at the opposite end I'm very good at writing extended melody for which there was not really an opening at the BBC."
" I remember it myself: the sound of clogs on cobbles, you know, people going to the mill at six o'clock in the morning or something. That must be such an influence on me."
""Now let us go back to the late fifties, early sixties. Dave Brubeck had done "Take Five" and in '61 he'd done "It's a Raggy Waltz" so - that was in seven time - so I thought "Fine! I'm into the numbers game. I'll do eleven time and thirteen time", continuing the series of prime numbers. But unfortunately that style, I was told, was "too sophisticated for the BBC2 audience"
“Oh Crumbs!”
" I tried to convey the distance of the horizon and the heat haze and then there's this very high, slow reedy sound. That indicates the strand of camels seen at a distance, wandering across the desert. That in fact was made from square waves on the valve oscillators"
"I go back to first principles when it comes to music. I go back to the Greeks and the original, simple harmonic series. I think that's a very healthy thing to do for anyone."
“My most beautiful sound at the time was a tatty green BBC lampshade...”
"Any sound can be made into a radiophonic sound by the treatment it receives. The sort of sounds we usually use are electronic sounds of various sorts, and also sounds that are recorded, picked up by a microphone, everyday sounds and also musical instruments."
""Most of the programmes that I did were either in the far distant future, the far distant past or in the mind."
""Ron was so thrilled with the sound of the Doctor Who first mix, that he said "Give Delia half the royalties". I was so pleased with it because I was going to book a band". Literally, he didn't think that what he had written on his score could be so well done with the equipment we had and he was a very generous person but, of course, that wasn't allowed as I was only a studio manager or something."


A tribute to Delia Derbyshire

Delia Derbyshire was a mathematician, musician and composer of electronic music who carried out pioneering work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop during the 1960s.Her works include her electronic arrangement of the theme music to the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who. She has been referred to as "the unsung heroine of British electronic music".


released July 3, 2021

Dedicated to the memory of Delia Derbyshire.


With thanks to all participating artists.





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