Tuesday, 2 June 2020

David Cain ‎– "The Seasons" (BBC Radio Enterprises) ‎– RESR 7) 1969

As you male supremacist obnoxious slobs are tired of the superior ladies of early electronica, we return to an unsung collegue of Delia Derbyshire in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, David Cain, and rebalance the history of electronic music back towards the male genome a little bit.
I was blessed to be of an age when the BBC was pumping out all sorts of weird noises to avoid having to pay any jumped-up composer types to make some music for them. Being tight is often an underrated creative tool,and this tool was probably responsible for the wave of British synth-pop a decade later, that swept over the planet....be that a good or bad thing, i'll leave it up to you.
No, not Kraftwerk, it was the BBC wot dunnit to you all. Gary Numan is on record as saying that he'd never heard,or heard of, Kraftwerk until after he hit the top ten. He was likely to have been subjected to drama classes directed by  records such as this,from BBC radio for schools.I can see the young Depeche Mode now ,interpreting this music under the strict coreography of the Drama teacher at whatever decaying Essex primary school they attended in the early seventies.
Personally,as a schoolboy, I was none too keen to describe the month of April using the medium of expressive dance, but the music was certainly inspiring,leeching into my brain and changing ones subconscious to unleash such related wierdness as Throbbing Gristle upon my unsuspecting parents;such was the effect of adolescence upon those BBC damaged synapses in ones developing Brane!
Of course, one never revealed that one liked anything the teachers would play us,or one would get a stiff taste of mob violence perpetrated by one's charming peers. Luckily the music we could admit to likeing was brilliant too, in a different way. Gary Glitter, The Sweet, T-Rex, Slade...they were acceptable;but Drama Workshop music...forget it,if you wanted some friends!...a few years later I didn't want any friends,and sank into a teenage world of depression and isolation,rejecting those dumb-ass peers who preferred "Northern Soul" to Punk Rock???..Uh?
BBC poet Robert Duncan,describes this time perfectly in his words for the piece on 'October'.....heavy stuff indeed for kids to ingest:

"Like Severed Hands, the wet leafs lie flat on the deserted avenue,
Houses like skulls, stare through uncurtained windows..."

To describe this state sponsored experimental music some more,here's the sleeve notes:

In the Autumn of 1966 BBC Radio for Schools launched the first series of "Drama Workshop", a creative drama programme for children in their first and second years of secondary school.
The series was an immediate success and since then thousands of teachers and children all over the British Isles have become familiar with the warm voice of Derek Bowskill and the excitingly imaginative radiophonic music composed by David Cain. "Drama Workshop" is designed to stimulate dramatic dance, movement, mime and speech; and the improvisation of character and situation. Teachers have usually taped the broadcasts and then replayed them afterwards to their classes. Now, with this record, some of the most stimulating material from the current series is available in a permanent, easy to use form which will appeal not only to drama specialists in search of really original source material, but also to anyone who is concerned with creative education.
The poetry on this record is inspired by the seasons of the year. There are twelve poems on the months of the year by Ronald Duncan, as well as four pieces by Derek Bowskill on the seasons themselves. In each case the radiophonic theme is heard first, then the poem itself spoken over variations on the theme and finally the variations on their own.
The final musical item on the record represents the whole year. It states all the 12 themes for the months, followed by 4 sections for the seasons and concludes with a march which draws the various themes together, with some subtle and unusual key changes.
In this way teachers can use the poems for listening and discussion amongst the class, and the music separately for movement and dramatic dance improvisation. Other activities such as music-making, painting and writing may also follow from listening to this record. But however many educational applications are found for the contents, if you enjoy poetry or music you will enjoy this record.

Dickon Reed

...Dickon?????...certainly a posh bloke,as were most of the BBC staff,but even posh blokes get it right sometimes.What we now call the 'Joe Strummer Syndrome'.


1 January 2:09
2 February 2:27
3 March 5:09
4 April 2:24
5 May 3:08
6 June 2:29
7 July 2:24
8 August 1:49
9 September 2:04
10 October 2:11
11 November 3:03
12 December 2:36
13 Spring 1:54
14 Summer 1:54
15 Autumn 1:46
16 Winter 2:07
17 The Year 4:24


rev.b said...

So you grew up with this sort of thing coming over the radio? My, you were a lucky lad, in that regard anyway. No wonder Throbbing Gristle came along, it wasn't such a shock.

northfieldhat said...

So goodbye to the ladies, so we can get our Dickon?

Vlad said...

Sounds like a "brrrittisch" The Residents ca 1982. Amazing stuff! Thanx a lot for sharing.

Jonny Zchivago said...

@Vlad....ahaaa, you spotted it. Its a weirder version of "Tunes Of Two Cities"done before the The eyeball headed ones were even formed.

m.t. n. said...

Bless you for this...I was just about to turn on the gas, but now there's hope....