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Soundtrack Review

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The Soundhouse


Performed by: The BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
SILCD1511 (CD), SILED1511 (download), SILLP1511(vinyl)
Release Date: 07 October 2016 / 04 November (vinyl)

In 1979 the Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) was launched, the year that the BBC Radiophonic Workshop celebrated its 21st birthday. At the price of a house (approx £30,000) this state of the art piece of equipment was embedded with an 8 bit digital sampling synthesizer capable of emulating acoustic instruments and orchestras alongside the manipulation of sound effects. For the BBC Radiophonic Workshop this was a major change, as previously composers would spend weeks editing small pieces of tape together to create sounds. Ingenuity and creativity in music and sound was still at the forefront for Workshop members but suddenly made a whole lot easier.

This 1983 collection (a first time re-release here of the complete album) celebrated these new found freedoms most notably on the opening track where five Radiophonic composers combined to add their own musical identity to a rhythmic percussive sequence from the Fairlight.

Highlights include music from the radio production of The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy and 'Fancy Fish' based on Saint-Saen's Carnival Of The Animals which was the first BRW project to use the Fairlight.

This historic 1983 BBC Radiophonic compilation reflects the advances made in computer technology and electronic music. For those of us of a certain age, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop will always hold a special place in our hearts. It was the source of so much of the BBC's programme music and sound effects. And while today these sounds may feel dated, it will take some of on a nostalgic trip back to the '80s.

This is an entertaining and enjoyable collection of funky themes. It probably won't be of interest to the younger listener, but if you want to hear the style of music that BBC productions used in the '80s this is a lovingly crafted soundtrack to a bygone era.

The album contains 22 tracks (44 min, 34 sec).

Track listing:

01. Radiophonic Rock - Peter Howell / Roger Limb / Jonathan Gibbs / Malcolm Clarke / Elizabeth Parker / Dick Mills
02. Lascaux - Peter Howell
03. Computers In The Real World - Jonathan Gibbs
04. Seascape - Dick Mills
05. The Whale - Paddy Kingsland
06. Rallyman - Roger Limb
07. Catch The Wind - Dick Mills
08. Believe It Or Not - Malcolm Clarke
09. Planet Earth - Elizabeth Parker
10. Dawn - Jonathan Gibbs
11. Mainstream - Attr. Henry VIII, arr. Peter Howell
12. The Unseeing Eye - Malcolm Clarke
13. Fancy Fish - Camille Saint-Saëns, arr. Peter Howell / Dick Mills
14. Brighton Pier - Paddy Kingsland
15. Armagiddean War Games - Dick Mills
16. Yellow Moon - Roger Limb
17. Radio Blackburn - Elizabeth Parker
18. Macrocosm - Dick Mills
19. Land And People - Peter Howell
20. Houdin’s Musical Box - A. Le Charpentier, arr. Jonathan Gibbs
21. Ghost In The Water - Roger Limb
22. The Milonga - Malcolm Clarke


Darren Rea

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