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The Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society

Delia Derbyshire
Garry Hughes and Harvey Jones, who together comprise The Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society, are both veterans of the electronic/experimental music scene.

Hughes’ credits include working with artists such as: Björk, Sly & Robbie, Killing Joke, The Art Of Noise and the Orchestral Pink Floyd project in addition co-founding Bombay Dub Orchestra, and Jones has collaborated with, to name just a few, Julian Cope, Carla Bley, and Chris Boti.

The two have been friends for over three decades, and The Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society is their most recent collaboration. Derbyshire was an early, under-appreciated pioneer of electronic music at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and a major influence on both Hughes and Jones. The former explained, “At some point we had a conversation about ‘What got you into electronic music?’ We both realized it was the Doctor Who theme.” The theme, though written by Ron Grainer was brought to life by Derbyshire. (As the story goes, upon hearing the Doctor Who theme, Grainer asked, “Did I write that?” and Derbyshire replied, “Most of it.”)

Doctor Who Theme Tune 1963-1969 by Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire

Beginning in 1962, Derbyshire worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop for eleven years until her desire for greater artistic freedom necessitated her exit. As Derbyshire put it in an 1999 interview, “My passion is to make original, abstract electronic sounds and organize them in a very appealing, acceptable way, to any intelligent person. But [the Radiophonic Workshop] was set up as a service to the drama department. It was nothing to do with music, and that’s it.”

Hughes and Jones, as The Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society, return to the early days of electronic music and analog gear. Of “Blue Filter,” Hughes says, ““When it started to take on a slightly retro flavor we didn’t fight it, we like those sounds! The only firm idea we had when we started was that there would be no beats or vocals and that we would use synthesizers and keyboards.”

The last couple of years have seen a surprising revival of interest in analog gear and in the sometimes ambient, sometimes motoric sounds of the electronic music of the analog age.  Hughes and Jones have contributed to that revival with The Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society by finding a way to use those sounds in a contemporary way.

The Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society’s Blue Filter is out now through Six Degrees Records, and their self-titled full-length, comes out February 10th, 2017. Blue Filter is available on Amazon, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

Terence Praet
Terence Praet contributes to The Manual’s New Music Monday column. He studied Philosophy and History at Skidmore College…
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