Found Tapes Prove Doctor Who Musician May Have Invented Techno
In the 1960's, the folks behind the scenes of the then-new Doctor Who were really looking to make their mark in television. Scoffers can point their fingers at the wobbly sets and fluffed lines, but the extraordinary theme song remains a spooky and unequaled classic to this day. Even people who don't watch Who will wail out "oooooo-WEEEEEE-ooooooo" at the mention of the show's title.
The theme song's melody was composed by BBC composer Ron Grainer, but the signature sound of the piece is thanks to Delia Derbyshire. Derbyshire was a composer at the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, a department charged with innovating new audio for radio, and a crucial component in creating Doctor Who's otherworldly soundtracks. Derbyshire actually constructed the Who theme song out of separate bits of tape recorded using lots of non-musical gear. The result is one of the most recognizable pieces of Musique Concrète in the world.
Delia created much more than Doctor Who's theme in her career, and over 250 recordings of her private musical experiments have recently come to light. There are many interesting sounds and songs among her tapes. One track sounds remarkably like techno music - only 30 years too early! She spent a lot of time with the time-traveling Doctor in those early days, so I shouldn't be surprised. From the dismissive comments she makes when she slates the tape, it doesn't sound like she'd be a big techno fan today...