Concrete Mixers

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Concrete Mixers is an article by Darren Giddings telling "the story of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop".[1]


In 1963 Derbyshire realised a musical score by composer Ron Grainer - possibly the first time a written score had been realised in this way.

Delia Derbyshire once spoke (in a 1979 radio documentary on the Workshop) of the antiquated chaos and DIY bodge-jobs that was the Workshop's equipment base in the 1960s, and how enormously long tape loops could frequentlybe seen trailing out into the corridor.

Derbyshire and Hodgson also became involved in crossover projects with the newly emerging world of progressive rock, forming in 1969 'White Noise' with David Vorhaus. This resulted in an eccentric LP, 'An Electric Storm' which was issued by Island records.

As the 60s became the 70s, the Workshop began to take advantage of the recently developed synthesiser. [...] it made work easier and quicker, but [...] the early synths were quite limited and had a very soul-less sound that makes much of the work of the period sound disappointingly corny. Even Delia Derbyshire expressed reservations about the flexibility and speed of synthesizer work, preferring to 'get inside somewhere and make it do a more human sound than it does'.