Mary Anne Hobbs Leaving BBC Radio 1, Marking End of an Era

Performing live at SONAR, courtesy the artist. Mary Anne Hobbs has announced that she is leaving BBC Radio 1 after fourteen years to pursue other work. It’s a changing of the guard at one of the world’s major musical beacons. In her tenure as a DJ for the Beeb, Hobbs famously helped fuel the explosive rise of the dubstep genre. Notably, she also became a champion of many American artists, shining a light on artists like Flying Lotus. (Leave it to the British to appreciate the significance of American popular music more than Americans – ask The Beatles.) And on …

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Music Hackday Goodies: Robot-Driven Radio, Free Chordal Synth, Lyrics by Decade, More

The Music Bore – Video 2 from Nicholas Humfrey on Vimeo. “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t allow you to listen to Coldplay.” What would radio be like if playlists were not only robotic, but had robot DJs pulling information from the Interwebs dynamically? That’s the question asked by the winning team at London’s Music Hackday last weekend, which created an epic mashup of data sources to produce a voice-synthesized IRC chatbot that researches and plays music for you. Music Bore Music Bore was just one of a number of projects developed in the weekend of musical hacking, some for listening, …

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Delia Derbyshire, in Radio Interviews and on T-Shirts

Delia Derbyshire, UK electronic composer extraordinaire and BBC Radiophonic Veteran, inspires depths of love and respect from us electronic muzos male and female that defy description. As Tara Busch from AnalogSuicide puts it, people aren’t just fans: they’re Delians. I think if you could see the image inside the heads of Delia fans at the mere mention of her name or the sound of a single sound effect, it’d probably look something like this slow-motion clip Tara posted to AnalogSuicide last fall: (Well, the editor at the BBC working on the show obviously felt that way.) Via: We Love Delia! …

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Doctor Who: Coldcut Remix and Celebrating the BBC

Ah, the BBC. Their world news sounds like an apocalyptic rave and their inexplicably long-running, trippy strange “children’s” sci-fi show has one of the greatest pieces of synthesized music ever. I’m running out of ways to say Delia Derbyshire is one of the most brilliant composers ever to use electricity, so let’s just get straight on to the bit where Coldcut show up and hold a big musical party for the Beeb Radiophonic Workshop and do their own kickass remix of Who’s opening titles and sounds. (Making the classic Doctor Who video feedback seem psychedelic? Not really a challenge. And …

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Next Stop, Dublin: DEAF Fest – Talks on Sound, BBC, Synths

Digging into sound: Mark Pilkington‘s photograph of the Daphne Oram archive from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The BBC legacy is just one part of an event on Saturday as we talk about the history and future of electronic sound. I’ve had some amazing meetings here in Berlin, with plenty to share with you over the coming weeks and months. I’m now headed to Dublin tomorrow for the amazing-looking DEAF festival. If you’re in or near Dublin, you may want to just clear the next few days for live music lineups, parties, film screenings, gallery events, and generally a dream lineup …

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Radiohead Rap by Adam Buxton, Brilliant Commentary on Remixes and TV Rights

I can’t say anything this song doesn’t say brilliantly. Comedian Adam Buxton takes on the Radiohead remix contest with his own entry, which cuts through the hype brings a bit of wit to TV incidental music and remixing alike. And, really, how often do you get to say "Radiohead" and "rap" in the same sentence? Take my mechanical rights, please! See, there, I said something. It wasn’t very good. Just so listen to the song and thank me later, okay? See also Adam Buxton’s sketch for BBC3’s Rush Hour which cleans up NWA to "Help Da Police." Thanks, Jaymis!

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Archivist Responds: Yes, Virginia, Delia Derbyshire Really Was That Awesome

A sadly out-of-print album of Delia Derbyshire’s music, with Brian Hodgson, Don Harper. It came as no surprise to me that Delia Derbyshire, composer and BBC Radiophonic Workshop maestra, would have created incredibly forward-thinking music in the 60s. But when one track seemed to predict IDM and modern electronica, the story of Derbyshire’s vintage “dance” track spread over the Interwebs, and even aroused suspicion of fakery. Delia Derbyshire Recordings Found, Including Ahead-of-its-Time Dance Track David Butler of the University of Manchester was one of two archivists who started undertaking the work of assembling a library of Derbyshire’s ground-breaking work. He …

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Delia Derbyshire Recordings Found, Including Ahead-of-its-Time Dance Track

Here’s some very good news from the UK: pioneering electronic music composer, sound designer, BBC Radiophonic  virtuosa and Doctor Who theme creator Delia Derbyshire left us more recordings than previously thought. Some 267 tracks of music and documentation were found in her attic. The Radiophonic Workshop’s Mark Ayres – who has been single-handedly leading the charge to make sure the Workshop’s place in history is safe – had been preserving them. But now this archive will be a “living archive,” meaning, at last, we should get to hear them and new music will be commissioned for the archive from musicians …

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Music Tech History Day: Inside BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Delia’s Lampshade

The UK electronic music scene lost its pioneer Tristram Cary this week, so it’s the perfect time to look back again at the marvels of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Low-budget but long-running Doctor Who is unlikely to be remembered for breaking new ground in, say, fancy props, sets, or visual effects (though they did plenty with what they had). But when it comes to sound and music, the BBC’s DIY approach to sound, ranging from Who to "serious" classical music (even my composition teacher Thea Musgrave worked there) remains significant today. The BBC is again offering a look inside the …

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Future of Music Tech, As Envisioned by BBC Comedy Writers

The hilarious send-up of educational films that was Look Around You: Music was only the beginning. BBC comedy show Look Around You has its own fantastic website filled with still more goodies. And it gives us a much clearer idea of the future of music technology than, say, a teaser from Moog. Readers have been sending in “Life in the Year 2000” entries, which include the five-string bass guitar, sex changes using Bach violin concertos, and my personal favorite, Halson Hoek’s invention that improves your keyboard chops by sending electrical shocks through metal gauntlets. At this point, that might be …

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