Delia Derbyshire has long been considered ahead of her time. One of the earliest creators of electronic music, she is most famous for her work with the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop in Maida Vale, at which she created the haunting original Dr Who theme, in an age without synthesizers:
A lot of modern musicians like Orbital, Stereolab and Spacemen 3 cite her work as an influence, and it’s easy to to see why.
What sparked this blog post was the news that more of her work has been discovered, some 267 tapes to be exact! All of this is going to be digitized and made available, but in particular was this experimental dance track that she created in the 60’s. Made decades before ‘electronic dance music’ really happened, and yet it sounds like something created today.
This clip from a BBC Four documentary gives some insight into how she created music with reel to reel tapes:
Sadly she died in 2001 at 64, just after rediscovering her love of electronic music, working with Peter Kember (Spacemen 3, Sonic Boom), of which she said:
Working with people like Sonic Boom on pure electronic music has re-invigorated me. He is from a later generation but has always had an affinity with the music of the 60s. Now without the constraints of doing ‘applied music’, my mind can fly free and pick-up where I left off.
Discover more about her life at delia-derbyshire.org