1st November 2008: Pink album reissue
BBC Radiophonic Music, affectionately known as 'The Pink Record', was originally a BBC internal library disc, and then a commercial LP release in 1971 (BBC Records, REC25M). Once again issued on CD, this release best demonstrates (in no less than 9 tracks of the 31 on offer) Delia's versatility and mastery of her medium.
Click here for more information on this CD.
18th July 2008: Delia Archive
David Butler of Manchester University's School of Arts, Histories and Cultures unveils never-heard works from Delia's attic archive.
Item on the BBC website, including sound clips
30th November 2006: Event, South Bank Centre, London
Turntable Cafe pays tribute to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, whose most familiar contribution to the world was the Dr Who theme, arguably the earliest and most significant piece of British electronica. But with contributors like Delia Derbyshire and Glynis Jones, it was also hugely influential on generations of musicians, from the Pet Shop Boys to Aphex Twin and Four Tet.
Sonic Boom - formerly of Spacemen 3 and the last person to work with Delia Derbyshire before she died in 2001 - performs live; there is a selection of archive footage on the workshop, and Julian House, from the graphic design company Intro provides images and spins records. Turntable Cafe takes place in the Purcell Room and The Front Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Tickets and information
25th November 2006: Electrosonic LP reissue
Thanks to sterling work by John Cavanagh, the Electrosonic LP, previously only available on marked-up KPM vinyl, has been reissued. LP available through the Boa Melody Bar.
25th November 2006: Music clips are back
Thanks to those nice people at Hyperreal, the music clips have returned.
9th May 2006: Delia on film
Rare film footage of Delia, as seen on BBC4's Alchemists of Sound, seems to have found its way onto scavenger's emporium You Tube. We don't know why this documentary hasn't been released on DVD.
9th May 2006: The Tomorrow People
Trunk Records has released The Tomorrow People soundtrack on LP and CD. This contains all tracks from the expensive-to-obtain ESL104 library record with the exception of missing London Lemons. For more information see the Trunk Records Website. Despite what the blurb on the site says, the LP (and CD) is still available at the time of writing.
7th January 2005: Hugh Davies
Sadly we report another death - that of musician Hugh Davies, who gave this site great encouragement. Rest in peace Hugh.
26th October 2004: John Peel
In memory of John Peel, whose playlist included The White Noise, we've added Delia and Brian Hodgson's 1969 treatment of his voice to the music clips page.
OCTOBER 2004: STANDING WAVE
If you're anywhere north of, say, Stromboli, it is your duty to go and investigate Standing Wave - Delia Derbyshire in the '60s at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.
"The extraordinary story of Delia Derbyshire - the ground breaking electronic music composer and member of the legendary BBC Radiophonic workshop who was most famously responsible for the incredible Dr Who theme music.
After the main show every night will be a different programme of music, including Delia's own work, new music commissions and electronic music from the 1920s to the contemporary."
Visit the Standing Wave website
YOKO ONO FILM SCREENINGS IN LONDON - 1ST MARCH/7TH MARCH 2004
London's ICA is showing some rarely shown films by Yoko Ono. Of Delian interest is Wrapping Piece from 1967. We *believe* Delia provided the soundtrack for this (see the interview from Surface magazine on this site). For more information on the screenings, see the ICA website.
E.A.R. SHOW - 4th FEBRUARY 2004
Strange sounds - Theremin, modular analogue synths, insect noise, the human voice plus video projection - SONIC BOOM mixes improvisation with structure to create tight freedom.
Included will be a piece called Synchrondipity Part 2 using many of the favourite sounds of Northampton resident Delia Derbyshire who SONIC BOOM was working with shortly before her death.
THE LION CUB
OLD BLACK LION
NORTHAMPTON RAILWAY STATION
NO CHROMATIC SCALE!
tel. +44 (0)7906 243813.
4th September 2003. NEW DELIA DERBYSHIRE COLLABORATION RELEASED
A new, never-heard recording of Delia's has been released as part of Grain, a compilation of 99 short tracks. Synchrondipity Machine (an unfinished dream) by Experimental Audio Research w/ Delia Derbyshire, features Delia working with liquid paper sounds generated using fourier sound synthesis based on photo/pixel info using B2wav bitmap to audio software. Sonic Boom takes care of editing, mixing and effects, including SMS tools 0.8 analysis/resynthesis.
The track was recorded at New Atlantis Studios in Rugby, England, in the summer of 2000, and is dedicated to Delia's memory. For information see DotDotDot Music's Website.
16th July 2003. DELIA DERBYSHIRE SHOW PLANNED
A new play chronicling the career of Delia Derbyshire, the producer of the Doctor Who theme, is currently being developed. A co-production between The Tron venue, Glasgow and the Reeling and Writhing theatre company, the production will use Derbyshire's creative career as a way of portraying the space age era of the early 60s.
The Doctor Who theme will feature heavily, as will Delia's other work. It's also hoped that new music, inspired by the music, and using the technology of the time, will be performed live. There are also plans to extend the show with Workshops demonstrating Delia's working methods.
The design of the show will draw on the futurism of the 60s as well as 'swinging' London. The production will also be supported by a website, which will feature free music downloads.
Delia Derbyshire (working title) is planned to premiere in September 2004. For more information see Reeling and Writhing's Web Site.
29th April 2003. TUTANKHAMUN'S EGYPT
We've added the hard-to-find track Tutankhamun's Egypt to our music clips page. If anyone can provide us with background information on the series it accompanied, we'd be very grateful (and that, as ever, goes for any information we may have missed).
10th April 2003. DELIA DERBYSHIRE TRIBUTE ON NEW KING OF WOOLWORTHS ALBUM
The new King of Woolworths album, L'Illustration Musicale, contains a track called Delia Derbyshire. You can hear it in Real Audio format on Mantra Recordings' site.
21 January 2003: DAPHNE ORAM, 1925-2003
Daphne Oram was employed as a BBC 'music balancer' during the war. She was a skilled musician and trained engineer and by the early 1950s she had been promoted to Music Studio Manager. She campaigned persistently for equipment to be made available to develop new techniques for sound design and electronic music.
In 1957 Daphne was asked to compose music for a play called Amphytryon 38. Using a bank of single sine-wave oscillators, a Motosacoche tape recorder and home-made filters, she composed the piece, the first of its kind at the BBC, from entirely electronic sound sources for her music. The piece received favourable reviews and during that year she and her colleague Desmond Briscoe, were inundated with demands for electronic compositions for new radio plays.
Samuel Beckett's All That Fall (1957) required specific sound creations to enhance its surreal atmosphere. Frederick Bradnum wrote Private Dreams and Public Nightmares, subtitled A Radiophonic Poem which was the first play to include explicit instructions for sound montage within the script. Giles Cooper wrote The Disagreeable Oyster, and Under the Loofah Tree, both comedies. It became apparent that the increase in demand for the services of Briscoe and Oram necessitated more space and equipment to do the job. Within a year a budget had been found, and room Nos 12 and 13 at Maida Vale were made available. Daphne Oram was among the first studio managers of the Radiophonic Workshop.
She left a year later to form her own studio and continued to compose for film, TV, and perform electronic works live.
She also developed a career writing numerous articles and lecturing on electronic and concrète musics. She wrote a book, An Individual Note (Gaillard, 1971) in which she articulates a wealth of knowledge of electronics, as well as music and philosophy. In it she compares the human process of music composition to the processes and stimuli contained in electronic circuitry.
After leaving the BBC, she received a Gulbenkian Foundation grant to develop her 'Oramics'. This was her invention, where physical hand movements are imprinted onto transparent film strips and passed across electronic photo sensors from where they are converted into sound. It is a system of graphical notation on which are imposed the necessary components, such as pitch, duration, envelope shape, timbre, for representing audio waveforms to generate sound electronically. She thus became the first (and only?) woman to design and build an entirely new sound recording medium, which was used by, among others, Thea Musgrave, Tristram Cary and Hugh Davies. Its practical use was however superseded by the development of voltage controlled technology in sound synthesis. Oramics became redundant, but inspired later developments in computer software, such as Inook Choi's recent Interactive Virtual Notational System.
In the early 1990s, she was working on outdoor sound installations in private gardens prior to retirement. She left behind fifty years of pioneering activity at the frontline of technological developments in sound recording and music composition.
Daphne suffered a stroke in 1994. On hearing of Daphne's illness, Delia Derbyshire was moved to describe Daphne in a private letter as "one of the most important people in the history of electronic music".
The only piece of Daphne's work that is presently commercially available is an edit of Four Aspects (1960), which can be found on EMFMedia's Not Necessarily English Music compilation. This can be purchased from CDeMusic in the US (it can also be found at Amoeba in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and Other Music in New York). In the UK it can be purchased from Sound 323 in Highgate, London.
The full 8 minutes of Four Aspects will be released as part of an anthology through Sub Rosa later this year. A CD of Daphne's work is planned.
Text by Jo Hutton. Thanks to Hugh Davies
18 December 2002: BLUE VEILS AND GOLDEN SANDS RADIO PLAY
BBC Radio 4's dramatisaion of elements of Delia's life will be broadcast at 14.15 GMT on Monday 23rd December 2002. It will also be broadcast on the internet, and available online until the end of the year. For more information see the Radio 4 website.
30 November 2002: BBC RADIOPHONIC MUSIC REISSUE
BBC Radiophonic Music has now been reissued in the USA (the UK reissue has been available since October). The original issue from 1971 featured nine Delia Derbyshire tracks, including Pot au Feu, Blue Veils and Golden Sands and Ziw-zih Ziw-zih oo-oo-oo. The CD reissue contains two bonus Delia tracks, as well as a 12 page colour booklet. For more information on this absolutely essential purchase, see delia-derbyshire.org's Delia to buy page.
23 October 2002: DELIA DERBYSHIRE RADIO PLAY SCHEDULED
Blue Veils and Golden Sands, the radio play based upon Delia's life, will be broadcast on Radio 4 in the UK on Christmas week. More news when we get it. For more details on the play, see the news article dated 2 October 2002.