From the Library – Classic Electronica

This week we look back on some of the clas­sics of elec­tron­ic music – both loved ones and neglect­ed ones… and quite a few you may nev­er have heard before. Some are in the pop vein, oth­ers more clas­si­cal­ly inclined, while many are in a style all their own. In addi­tion we will be pre­sent­ing some unique mate­r­i­al that pro­vides a back­drop to the music. We have stayed away, large­ly, from the work of “seri­ous” com­posers and instead focused more on pop­u­lar explo­rations of the elec­tron­ic musi­cal arts.

The fur­thest we go back in this pro­gramme is prob­a­bly to ear­ly com­put­er music, pro­grammed on an IBM 7090 main­frame in 1962 by var­i­ous com­posers, and released on Brunswick Records as Music from Math­e­mat­ics. Then there is the work of Tom Dis­sevelt and Kid Bal­tan, work­ing in the Philips elec­tron­ic music facil­i­ty in Eind­hoven, Hol­land in the ear­ly 1960s. Their best-known work is heard here, in the sel­dom-heard US stereo ver­sion of Song of the Sec­ond Moon, which includes strong melodies as well as abstract pieces.

We also look at the impor­tant work of Joe Meek in the 1960s British pop world with some hits (and oth­er­wise) by the Tor­na­dos and also Meek’s own, excep­tion­al­ly rare album, I Hear a New World.

In the 1960s anoth­er new elec­tron­ic music force came into promi­nence, the BBC Radio­phon­ic Work­shop, and we fea­ture a selec­tion of their ear­li­est work and some lat­er mate­r­i­al from the ear­ly syn­the­sis­er peri­od. In addi­tion we focus on com­pos­er Delia Der­byshire (see pho­to) with a selec­tion of her com­po­si­tions includ­ing the Dr Who theme as broad­cast in around 1970, half a dozen years after the series start­ed, and more, plus the doc­u­men­tary Wee Have Also Sound Hous­es from 1979, when syn­the­sis­ers were begin­ning to make a seri­ous con­tri­bu­tion to the out­put of the Work­shop.

In a some­what curi­ous link, Mar­tin Luther King was assas­si­nat­ed 40 years ago on April 4, and we will remem­ber this by play­ing the Radio­phon­ic per­for­mance by Richard Attree, The Dream. Fol­low-up to his award-win­ning Peace On Earth, The Dream com­bines actu­al­i­ty with orig­i­nal music to stun­ning effect and received the 1989 Sony Award for Most Cre­ative Use of Radio.

Back on the com­mer­cial front we fea­ture the work of Moog pio­neers Jean-Jacques Per­rey and Ger­shon Kings­ley, with their pop­py, idio­syn­crat­ic pieces, and of course selec­tions from Wendy Car­los. Then there are some com­po­si­tions from Lar­ry Fast, record­ing as Syn­er­gy, with sev­er­al of his ground-break­ing 1970s albums, as wide­ly used in ear­ly Laseri­um shows. Some ear­ly Kraftwerk is in the mix from the first album and Auto­bahn from 1974 that made them pop­u­lar.

In addi­tion we have a broad spec­trum of ear­ly works from oth­er com­posers in the genre includ­ing Tomi­ta, Kitaro, Con­stance Dem­by, Don Har­riss, Van­ge­lis and many more. We hope you enjoy this very var­ied and exten­sive pro­gramme.

• From The Library is pre­sent­ed by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Cale­don Library in Sec­ond Life. This week’s pro­gramme was pro­duced in our Lon­don stu­dios by Elrik Mer­lin. For more infor­ma­tion on the Cale­don Library, cur­rent exhibits, and the work of Sec­ond Life ref­er­ence libraries in gen­er­al, please vis­it the Cale­don Library Web site, or one of their loca­tions in-world.

You can lis­ten to the pro­gram now at, or sim­ply vis­it any Cale­don Library branch in-world and press Play on your embed­ded music play­er.

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