9.10.11

BOARDS OF CANADA : John Peel Session - 16th June 1998 (Broadcast version)

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Boards Of Canada recorded their first, & only, John Peel session at BBC Maida Vale studio 4, with producer Mike Robinson, on 16th June 1998. Peel sessions classically consisted of 4 songs, recorded & produced at the BBC & broadcast on Peel's show a fortnight or so later, long after the artist(s) had gone home. In a typical (for BOC) inversion of established protocol, Boards Of Canada were coincidentally recording their session in adjacent studio while Peel was on air, enabling them to be patched into the show live, & to chat briefly with the great man at the beginning of "XYZ" (pronounced "XYZee"). That track, however, was the only one transmitted on the 16th June. Listeners had to wait until 21st July to hear the completed session in it's entirety, at which juncture "XYZ" was rebroadcast, but without the opening interview.

To confuse matters further, when BoC's set was licensed by Warp & released as part of the label's Peel Sessions series in 1999 (alongside appearances by Autechre, The Black Dog, Plaid &, later, Mira Calix), the previously aired track "Bad Day" - in actuality a formative version of BoC favourite "Happy Cycling" - was replaced by a noticeably more polished take (the same one that appears as an add-on to the Music Has A Right To Children reissue, in fact). Meanwhile, though it appeared on initial pressings of the CD, "XYZ" was quickly dropped due to unresolved sampling issues, making original copies a highly prized BoC rarity. As a result, Warp's BoC Peel Sessions e.p. barely relates to the broadcast Peel session at all. What a palaver.

Here then, is that original 21st July broadcast in it's entirety, complete with Peel's intros but not, sadly, the chat with BoC that prefaced the 16th June version of "XYZ". All tracks are sourced from the a tape recording of the show itself & not the subsequent Warp issue, hence the occasional snap, crackle & pop of "authentic" FM static.

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.