Apologies: Sadly, due to technical problems, there are plosives in this episode and I couldn't face/be bothered re-recording my bits. I promise it will be fixed for the next episode!
This episode’s theme was suggested by the mysterious ‘CN’ on Mastodon, when they replied about Troika 41. I don’t know who you are CN, and I hadn’t even considered and episode on The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but of course with this being #42, it would be rude not to.
I didn’t want to get too bogged down in the lore of Hitchhikers Guide story, as this is Troika, and I want to focus on the music. So I’ve picked 6 tracks that spans the original BBC Radio series in 1978 (45 years ago!), BBC TV Series in 1981, and a movie in 2005:
"This is the Story" by Paddy Kingsland
We start this episode with "This is the Story" by Paddy Kingsland, who is basically the composer of my childhood soundtrack. He wrote the evocative synthesiser music for several series of Doctor Who, starting with Tom Bakers’ last few stories. I had the cassette of the music he made for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, long before our family owned a video recorder, so it was my only way of 'reliving' the stories. He also wrote the music for the Hitchhikers TV series of course, and "This is the Story" is the opening music from that. There's more from Paddy later…
"Journey of the Sorcerer" by The Eagles
Here’s an admission - until 'CN' mentioned it, I had no idea that the Hitchhikers theme wasn’t composed especially for the original BBC Radio series, and was in fact, by The Eagles. Journey of the Sorcerer came from their 1975 album One of These Nights, and according to the Internets, Douglas Adams was looking for something that sounded "spacey" but not serious. He looked through his collection of LPs, which included One of These Nights, and decided it was ideal, representing a feel of 'alienation'. There have been many different versions on Hitchhikers, but this is the original.
"So long and thanks for all the fish" by Joby Talbot
Journey of the Sorcerer was used not only in the Radio and TV series, but in the 2005 film version as well. Joby Talbot composed this bombastic musical style opening number "So long and thanks for the all fish" for when all the dolphins leave the Earth. Neil Hannon (also known as The Divine Comedy) recorded a more laid back version to be used in the end credits.
"Reasons to be Miserable" by Marvin the Paranoid Android
Switching back to 1981 now, with a single by Stephen Moore, the original voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android, the depressed robot created by Sirius Cybernetics Corporation (that also gave name to a Radiohead Song from a previous Troika). This was released as part of a ‘Double B Side’ and is of course, parodying Ian Dury’s "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3". It’s very much ‘of its time’ shall we say. Back to Paddy Kingsland now for our last two entries in this double-Troika:
"Disaster Area" by Paddy Kingsland
Hotblack Desiato’s band Disaster Area, are "a ‘plutonium rock band’ from the Gagrakacka Mind Zones and are generally regarded as not only the loudest rock band in the Galaxy, but also as being the loudest noise of any kind at all". I love it because, it predates and foreshadows Sigue Sigue Sputnik by five years.
"Wonderful World" by Paddy Kingsland/Louis Armstrong
The outro to this episode is also the outro to the TV series, a piece of Paddy Kingsland brilliance and a little ambient masterpiece. Various sounds like static, birdsong and synths all merge into Louis Armstrong’s "Wonderful World", creating an impression of receiving transmissions from a distant planet. It then finishes by morphing again into the theme music.
Thank you to Richard Baker for his Soundcloud, which seems to be the only source of music from the original TV series available.