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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).