While spending numerous hours at the office, The Athens Video Art Festival Production Team spins tones of old dusty vinyls, listens to monster mixes by Dark Sky and rhymes over old school samples. A few days ago, during a fever of laptop keyboard bleepin and sweet nuthins Shotz started listening to a series of massive BBC Radiophonic Workshop tunes. This is the third volume and there are three more yet to come! Stay tuned…
SCULPTRESS OF SOUND
Born in Coventry, United Kingdom Delia Derbyshire was the oldest daughter of a working class background family. Her cleverness was soon discovered at the age of four, when she started teaching other children in her class to read and write, whereas she started playing the piano at the age of eight.
Her inclinations to mathematics lead her to be accepted by both Oxford and Cambridge, a quite important fact for a working class girl in the 1950s. Apart from her success in mathematical theory of electricity, she claimed that she did badly and the right next year she switched to music education graduating in 1959 with a degree in Mathematics and Music.
Right after her graduation she applied for a job at Decca Records but she was not accepted due to the company’s policy not to hire women. Instead she moved to Geneva where she made a living by teaching piano and mathematics to the diplomats’ children. In 1960 she returned to Coventry joining BBC as a trainee assistant studio manager and crabbing the opportunity to work for the Radiophonic Workshop. For eleven years she worked at Maida Vale creating music and sound for more than 200 programmes including the original score of Doctor Who. In 1966 she joined forces with Brian Hodgson and Peter Zinovieff in creating Unit Delta Plus, an organization specializing in creating electronic music exhibiting its works in several experimental festivals such as The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave. One year later the trio disbanded because of a false performance at the Royal College of Art.
Derbyshire continued following her vision by founding Kaleidophon studios with the aim of contributing electronic music to theatre plays, whereas she released an album in collaboration with Brian Hodgson and David Vorhaus, under the White Noise moniker. Their debut album entitled «An Electric Storm» is nowadays considered as one of the most influential albums in developing electronic music, while its followers include several contemporary names such as Stereolab, Aphex Twin, Add N to X and Broadcast. During the late 1960s and 1970s she continued to have exploratory encounters with Paul McCartney, Karlheinz Stockhausen, George Martin, Pink Floyd, Brian Jones, Anthony Newley, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson. In 1973 she left BBC, while right after her contribution to the OST of The Legend of Hell House she stopped creating music.
The unsung heroine of British experimental music rested in peace in Nothampton, England on July, 3rd 2001 leaving behind the legacy of her vision that the way and ear / brain perceives sound should have dominance over any basic mathematical theory.