You have, of course, heard of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, yes? If not, you’ve heard their work, assuming you’ve watched much television from the BBC, pioneers of electronic music, of noisemusic, of textured sound, of sequencing – absolutely amazing work. They’re probably best known for the Doctor Who theme, in North America, but that’s only one small part of their legacy.

There’s a lovely documentary called The Alchemists of Sound, about the Workshop. (Thanks to Paul Johnson for referring it and providing the YouTube link.) It’s totally worth your time if you’re interested at all in these early electronic and noisemusic sounds and how they were made.

(Parts two and three.)

In Part II, there’s a demonstration of looping – using, you know, actual loops of magnetic audio tape – and live-synching of components across four tape machines. Delia Derbyshire, one of the pioneers of the shop, takes you through it. Hard. Core.

There’s been a bit of a revival in oldschool sounds like these, too. Really, it’s a direct parallel to chiptunes. BoingBoing has an article you may enjoy up on hauntology, the art of retrofuturist music, as specifically applied to pre-8-bit electronica revival.

Enjoy!