Cybertech – music by Adrian Pack & Michael Fillis

CybertechCybertech is the first compilation of Adrian Pack and Michael Fillis’ fan-made music inspired by Doctor Who, and I almost dubbed it “unofficial,” and yet it’s impressive enough that John Nathan-Turner chose a track from this CD (from its earlier release as a single) to open and close the oft-maligned charity reunion special Dimensions In Time in 1993, so it can’t be that unofficial.

Cybertech is an homage, more than anything else, to the sounds and music created for Doctor Who by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The feel of music-almost-becoming-atonal-sound-effects is perfectly captured, and while no specific compositions are imitated, Fillis and Pack manage to evoke the unmistakable mood of that era spectacularly. There are tracks on Cybertech that could be slotted between actual early/mid 1980s Doctor Who music indistinguishably.

Some of the later tracks on the CD almost seem to be reaching back further in time, paying tribute to the Radiophonic Workshop’s more abstract sounds in the 1960s. “Dead Planet?” and “We, The Machines” in particular would stand nicely alongside some of the more atmospheric tracks from BBC Radiophonic Music. Some later tracks are an homage to the Vangelis/Jarre-inspired “wall of sound” that drenched 4 out of 4early 80s episodes such as The Leisure Hive.

Cybertech was an interestingly experimental tip of the hat to the history of electronic music in Doctor Who, and it was successful enough to actually make it on the air via Dimensions In Time. Fillis and Pack would return for another round with a slightly different focus in Cybertech II.

Order this CD

  1. Cybertech (Voc Mix) (4:37)
  2. Pull To Open (0:49)
  3. Doctor Who Theme (2:13)
  4. Technopolis (5:44)
  5. Eocene Park (4:11)
  6. Dreamsnake (6:41)
  7. These E Devils… (4:24)
  8. Dead Planet? (6:08)
  9. We, The Machines (4:36)
    A Dark Infinity suite
  10. I. The Doppler Experiment (4:37)
  11. II. Time Travel (5:10)
  12. III. Regeneration (4:48)
  13. Cybertech (Dum Mix) (6:34)
  14. Time Loop (10:18)

Released by: Jump Cut Records
Release date: 1994
Total running time: 70:50

Cybertech Part II: Pharos

Cybertech Part II: Pharos soundtrackAn interesting and somewhat obscure release, Pharos is the second collection of musical atmospheres by Cybertech (a.k.a. Michael Fillis and Adrian Pack). The two Cybertech CDs share a common thread: they try to evoke the atmosphere of past eras of Doctor Who music and, at the same time, pay tribute to what was the only source of new Who in the early 90s, Virgin Publishing’s Doctor Who: The New Adventures novels. In a way, Cybertech’s works are rather like the Doctor Who equivalent of the infamous Star Wars soundtrack-to-a-book release Shadows Of The Empire. Pack and Fillis composed original scores for specific scenes of some of the books (with the relevant passages quoted with permission in the CD’s lavishly illustrated booklet), while other adventures are given a score more evocative of a general mood, and some are accompanied by original, non-novel fiction. A few pieces unrelated to any specific book are dotted throughout the disc as well.

Lending the proceedings more of a stamp of Who authenticity are brief cameo appearances by Sylvester McCoy and the late Jon Pertwee, and their respective fellow time travelers Sophie Aldred and Caroline John. McCoy and Aldred’s appearances are “in character” as the Doctor and Ace, even though they each only speak a handful of lines of dialogue in their respective tracks. On the other hand, Jon Pertwee and Caroline John don’t seem to be playing the roles of the third Doctor and Liz Shaw, but instead act as narrators delivering the overall mood in the album’s opening and closing tracks. Mark Gatiss also makes a vocal appearance for the musical theme to his own novel, “Nightshade”.

And the music itself? Pack and Fillis toy around with the Doctor Who sounds of both the 70s and 80s, and nail some of the best approximations of those eras’ moods I’ve heard. Some of the non-story-specific pieces pick up the pace a little bit with more of a dance beat, but nothing terribly incongruous. It’s all very atmospheric, 4 out of 4and right in line with where the music of Doctor Who left off when the series vacated the small screen.

So, overall, what do I think of Pharos? I think Big Finish Productions should really be talking to these guys about joining their rotating cast of composing characters. They’re that good.

Order this CD

  1. Precipice (1:45)
  2. The Pharos Project (3:12)
  3. Time’s Crucible (3:15)
  4. Prometheus Bound (6:45)
  5. Prometheus Unbound (2:50)
  6. First Frontier (3:45)
  7. Yeti (9:15)
  8. Iceberg (8:00)
  9. Nightshade TV Theme (4:20)
  10. Trevithick’s Monsters (5:55)
  11. Interstitial Time: A Static Vortex (1:20)
  12. Legacy (3:20)
  13. Type 40 (3:20)
  14. Master Mind (10:30)
  15. Cyberia (4:45)
  16. Wavelength (2:00)

Released by: Jump Cut Records
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 75:25