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BBC Radiophonic Workshop's BBC Radiophonic Workshop - A Retrospective (33 1/3)

BBC Radiophonic Workshop's BBC Radiophonic Workshop - A Retrospective (33 1/3)

William L. Weir

Bloomsbury Academic




16.6 x 12.1 x 1.1

176 pages

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In 1958, an anonymous group of overworked and under-budgeted BBC employees set out to make some new sounds for radio and TV. They ended up changing the course of 20th-century music. For millions of people, the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop was the first electronic music they had ever heard. Sampling, loops, and the earliest synthesizers-long before audiences knew what they were-made up the groundbreaking scores for news programs, auto maintenance shows, and children's programming. They also produced the Doctor Who theme, one of the first electronic music masterpieces.

The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and others borrowed from them. A generation of musicians raised on BBC programming-Aphex Twin, Portishead, and Prodigy among them-took these once-alien sounds and carried on the Workshop's legacy. Ignored for decades by music historians, the Workshop is now recognized as one of the most influential forebears of electronica, psychedelia, ambient music, and synth-pop.

Table of Contents
Introduction: An Improbable Stew
1. Before the Workshop: Beeps, Bloops, and a Battle for the Nation's Identity
2. “Vive Le Workshop!”
3. “Time Beat” and the Soul of a Machine
4. Way Out and Catchy! Doctor Who, and a New Era for the Workshop
5. Fragile Ribbons of Iron: A Chapter about Tape
6. Around the Office
7. The Art of Making Something from Nothing
8. Goons, Singing Dogs, and Chirping Percolators
9. The World as Their Instrument
10. The Impact of the Radiophonic Workshop
11. Team Tape versus Team Synth
12. The End, and a New Appreciation
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