This Saturday, 23 November, is also known as Delia Derbyshire Day, in honour of the pioneering BBC Radiophonic Workshop composer whose work influenced artists such as Orbital, Aphex Twin, Stereolab and the Chemical Brothers.
Coventry native Derbyshire, who died in 2001, is being celebrated in style this weekend with a special 50th anniversary performance of An Electric Storm, the 1969 album by electronic music group White Noise (of which she was a member), at Loreto College, Manchester, as well as a number of other activities across the UK.
Check out the album’s opener, Love without Sound, here:
Quite what Derbyshire herself would have made of such a celebration is anyone’s guess; while she continued to work on music right up until her death, she was famously humble about her contribution to the arts.
As author David Stubbs noted in his recent book Mars By 1980 – The Story of Electronic Music, Derbyshire was “more interested in processes than outcomes” throughout her musical career.
“There’s a famous fragment of soundtrack,” Stubbs writes, “made in 1971 and discovered in her archive – a recording preceded by Derbyshire dismissing it in advance, ‘Ah, forget about this, it’s for interest only’ – which sounds like a sudden plunge down a worm- hole into the 1990s, an outtake by Autechre or Mike Paradinas or the Aphex Twin: a furious but regular jackhammer rhythm underpinning a brightly looming electronica motif.”
Check out 909originals’ recent interview with David Stubbs here.
To commemorate Derbyshire’s work, and her influence on a generation of musicians, BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne is creating a playlist of the women of electronic music – a fantastic idea and one that has generated no shortage of interest on social media.
To celebrate the pioneering Delia Derbyshire, @laurenlaverne’s creating a playlist of the women of electronic music.— BBC Radio 6 Music (@BBC6Music) November 20, 2019
Who would you love to hear on Thursday morning’s #PeoplesPlaylist ahead of @DeliaDDay? ⚡️ 🎹 pic.twitter.com/ZEunwg8FPA
Celebrating everyone from theremin specialist Clara Rockmore to Laurie Anderson, and from Björk to French synthesiser doyenne Éliane Radigue, it’s shaping up to be an incredible playlist, and we can’t wait for the final outcome.
Log on to the BBC 6 Music Twitter account to make your contribution, and happy Delia Derbyshire Day!
[Main picture taken from BBC website]