The Britich Broadcasting Corporation sends word that it has located hundreds of hours of tapes recorded by the late Delia Derbyshire, one of the pioneers of electronic music and sound effects. For anyone with a wide-ranging interest in the music of the past twenty years this would be akin to finding lost tapes of Miles Davis or Hank Williams. For those interested in the history of advanced electronic sound, particularly movie and television sound effects, it's the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Recording with the BBC's radiophonic workshop from the 1960s to the late 1970s, Ms. Derbyshire, a graduate of Cambridge in "maths" and music, is best known as the actual performer (not the writer – that's Ron Grainer) of the science fiction television show Doctor Who, but her influence goes far beyond that, as the theme itself and her work of the same period, most created without and before the commonplace appearance of the synthesizer, has been a huge influence on the course of contemporary dance music and what came before, including techno, house, trip hop, and the work of the more adventurous pure "scratch" DJs. Contemporary sci-fi and television theme music, not much advanced beyond the theremin wailing of Alexander Courage, has yet to catch up to what Delia Derbyshire created in the 1960s, with lamp shades and tape recorders.
This is amply demonstrated by the second sonic piece on the linked BBC story, which could be played in a modern club without any changes if extended, and would have people dancing.
I look forward to owning some of this, if the BBC intends, as it says, to release it commercially soon. Anyone interested in modern music more advanced than pop should read these stories.