8.10.11

RAY CATHODE : Time Beat 7" (1962)

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Established in the late 1950s to create extraordinary musique concréte-inspired sounds & atmospheres for the BBC's progressive programming, most notably the surrealistic Goon Show & eerie Quatermass series, the Radiophonic Workshop, as it entered the 1960s, had also begun creating bespoke themes & jingles for television.

In 1962, "Time Beat", a popular ident originally composed by Italian producer Maddalena Fagandini, was reworked with technical assistance from in-house EMI engineer (& future Beatles' mentor) George Martin. A typical early 60s "light" pop piece, albeit subtly processed using the Workshop's unrivaled battery of pioneering electronic sound equipment, it was the ensemble's first commercial release, & was distributed by EMI's "novelty" label Parlophone under the facetious Ray Cathode nom de plume. Though not as astonishing as Ron Grainer's landmark Doctor Who theme - constructed by Radiophonic virtuoso Delia Derbyshire the following year - "Time Beat"'s recourse to cutting edge technology still sets it apart from the standard popular fare of the era, particularly on the demented B-side, "Waltz In Orbit". Though lacking the lunatic brilliance of Joe Meek's concurrent productions, Ray Cathode's sophisticated sound is, on reflection, rather more pleasing to the 21st century ear.

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