The Radiophonic Workshop: Burials In Several Earths

Burials In Several EarthsThe Radiophonic Workshop is back, minus the BBC. If the band’s retinue of veteran analog electronic music pioneers can keep turning out original material like this, it might result in a new generation of fans wondering why they were slumming it for the BBC for so long. The Radiophonic Workshop is made up of former members of the storied BBC Radiophonic Workshop, an experimental electronic music & effects department of the BBC founded in the late 1950s to provide unique music and sounds for the steadily growing output of the BBC’s radio and television channels. The work, in those days before samplers and digital synthesizers, was grueling; membership in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop was always fairly limited because you had to love what you were doing, working with oscillators a beat and tone generators and analog reverb and tape loops. The Workshop remains, perhaps unjustly, best known for the original Doctor Who theme music dating back to 1963, but its body of work spread so much further than that…until the BBC closed the Workshop’s doors in the 1990s.

But its members, it turns out, weren’t averse to workshopping their unique sound without Auntie Beeb paying the bills. Having spent over a decade as a touring group recreating their sound the old-fashioned way for audiences who already knew their work and audiences only just discovering them, the Radiophonic Workshop has now gifted us with a new album with the unmistakable sound that gained them a following in the 1960s and ’70s. Is it abstract? At times, yes – about 13 minutes into the lead track, you’d swear they were trying to make a musical instrument out of the sound of the Liberator’s teleport from Blake’s 7. Everything from white noise to whalesong crops up. But what’s amazing is how tuneful it is at times. Echoing piano is a constant presence, along with actual guitar work (Paddy Kingsland, whose Doctor Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide scores in the early ’80s were ear-wormingly hummable, take a bow). There are a few places where a groove emerges from the soundscape and the Radiophonic Workshop proceeds to rock out.

Not a bad feat considering that some of these gentlemen are past what many touring musicians would consider retirement age.

4 out of 4The real fascination of Burials In Several Earths is that it’s electronic music created in a way that has almost been lost to time and the march of technology. That description doesn’t really do it justice though – that sounds more like the description of a tech demo. The Radiophonic Workshop is making actual music this way, delighting audiences on stage, and bolting new chapters onto a legacy of ridiculously hummable short tunes from a bygone age. At times ethereal, at times exciting, the one thing Burials isn’t is boring.

Order this CD

  1. Burials In Several Earths (18:58)
  2. Things Buried In Water (22:01)
  3. Some Hope Of Land (25:15)
  4. Not Come To Light (3:58)
  5. The Stranger’s House (11:23)

Released by: Room 13
Release date: May 19, 2016
Total running time: 1:21:35

Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection

Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection25 years ago, if someone had been asking for a go-to album for casual fans of the Doctor Who theme tune and its accompanying incidental music, I would have somewhat reluctantly pointed them toward the Doctor Who 25th Anniversary Album on BBC Records; reluctantly on the grounds that while it did indeed include the major iterations of the theme tune, its incidental music was drawn entirely from Sylvester McCoy’s first two seasons, largely scored by Keff McCulloch with very ’80s hand clap samples for percussion backing his very ’80s synths. It was a nice enough sound for its time, but not one that has dated very well. In 1993, for the show’s 30th anniversary, the default selection became the BBC’s 30 Years At The Radiophonic Workshop, which I’d recommend with a different set of reservations: most of its tracks were pure sound effects. Very evocative ones, to be sure, the pride of the BBC’s sonic skunkworks at Maida Vale, but little of the 30th anniversary album was actually music.

We had to reach the show’s 50th anniversary to strike the right balance at last. The four-disc Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection is an unapologetic romp through the tunes accompanying the TARDIS’ travels from 1963 through 2013. If a single show’s sound has evolved more radically over time (without it being a variety show with an ever-changing selection of musical guests), I’d love to hear about it. In five decades, Doctor Who has gone from experimental-going-on-avant-garde analog electronic music, to small orchestral ensembles, to tuneful (and sometimes showy) ’80s synthesizers, and then to full-on orchestral grandeur. That journey is sampled at various points across four CDs here. (A limited edition of 1,000 copies of a more expansive – and, undoubtedly, expensive – 11-CD set will be available in early 2014; Silva has already fessed up that this 4-CD set is a sampling of that larger collection, without giving any indication as to whether the material will be available separately on individual CDs, iTunes, or what have you.)

For those who faithfully bought Silva Screen’s ’90s CD releases of Mark Ayres’ late ’80s scores and the label’s reissues of classic BBC albums, as well as the BBC’s own attempt to fill out the Doctor Who soundtrack library in the early 21st century, there will be a lot of familiar material here, sometimes only in briefly excerpted form. Ayres’ scores, and familiar material such as “March Of The Cybermen” and music from Tom Baker’s last season, can be found here as edited highlights, as can already-released ’60s and ’70s gems such as excerpts from the now-hard-to-find-on-CD-without-getting-a-second-mortgage CD featuring Tristram Cary’s music from the second-ever Doctor Who story, The Daleks. Ayres was the archivist responsible for picking out the best bits from the classic series, and his choices line up almost exactly what what I would have picked. (Note: almost. Leaving the music accompanying the Brigadier’s flashback out of a Mawdryn Undead suite is an unexpected choice, to say the least.)

But there are many surprises as well. The sheer amount of pristine, not-smothered-in-sound-effects Dudley Simpson music to be heard is impressive. For decades, short of Silva Screen’s singular experimental attempt in the 1990s to do a Simpson “cover album” with the best synthesizers and samples available at the time, almost none of Simpson’s music has been available, despite the fact that he remains the reigning champion among Doctor Who composers (having scored episodes from 1964 through 1979). Copies of Simpson’s music simply were not retained, for who knew that it would ever be in demand as a standalone product? But thanks to Simpson’s occasional collaborations with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – a group which did a better job of archiving, and occasionally had to add synthesizer overdubs to Simpson’s more otherworldly cues – some selections of Simpson’s unique small-ensemble sound now survive. A few other Simpson specimens are culled from scenes in which the music was virtually the only sound in the mix (such as the music from the Patrick Troughton story The Seeds Of Death). This brings us such wonderful lost treats as the suite from 1977’s The Invasion Of Time, a selection of music which reminds me of Blake’s 7 as much as it does Doctor Who, and concludes with a great “slimy” synth motif for the Sontarans, a piece of music that screams “short, squat and ugly”. Other unearthed Simpson gems include music from The Android Invasion, the aforementioned Seeds Of Death, and the Pertwee space opera Frontier In Space. There are surprises from the small stable of other composers who scored the Doctor’s travels in the ’70s, including Carey Blyton’s stuttering stacatto saxophones from Death To The Daleks and his more traditional “Simpsonesque” strains from Revenge Of The Cybermen.

Another surprise heard here is a handful of stock library music pieces used during the 1960s, from the first piece of music ever heard within an episode of Doctor Who (on Susan’s portable radio, no less) to the familiar and oft-reused action cues that accompanied Cybermen and Yeti in equal measure. Many of these pieces have surfaced over the years, in such forms as the fan-compiled Space Adventures CD and short-lived one-off CDs timed to coincide with the releases of such things as The Tenth Planet and Tomb Of The Cybermen. But this is the first time than an officially sanctioned BBC release has declared these to be the Doctor Who music that the fans have always known them to be. The inclusion of a piece by Les Structures Sonores (used in the Hartnell four-parter Galaxy Four) is historically significant: when trying to describe the sound she wanted for Doctor Who’s still-unwritten theme tune, producer Verity Lambert fell back on the work of Les Structures Sonores as a suggested listen. (What actually emerged was wonderfully different from that suggestion, but however your tastes run regarding the show’s stories main theme, every major iteration is included here for your listening pleasure.)

The ’80s, the final decade of original Doctor Who, present a different problem: nearly everything survives from that era, so it becames a question of judiciously picking what to leave out. The major pieces that everyone would wish for are present, however: Tom Baker’s swan song from Logopolis, the thematic bookend of Peter Davison’s first trip in the TARDIS in Castrovalva, Earthshock‘s “March Of The Cybermen”, The Five Doctors, the percussive Sontaran march and the flamenco-style acoustic guitar work of The Two Doctors, edited highlights from three of the four stories making up The Trial Of A Time Lord, and the final moments of music from the original series in 1989’s memorable (and perfectly scored) Survival, which demonstrated that the show’s decade of synths was on the cusp of giving way to a more interesting mix of synth, guitar and live violin if the story demanded it.

Things then transform dramatically. For the first time outside of a 1990s “composer promo” release of questionable legality, selections from the Hollywood-spawned score of 1996’s Paul McGann TV movie come in from the cold on an official Doctor Who soundtrack compilation. Not much more than a taster, to be sure, and yes, the entire score’s been available as the music-only audio track on the DVD of that movie for about a decade now, but it’s nice to see this release taking in the entirety of the franchise’s musical history (with one major omission – more on this in a moment). From here, we jump to an extended best-of from Murray Gold’s reign as the sole musical voice of modern Doctor Who, covering everything from Rose’s theme through The Rings Of Akhaten. As much as some fans have only ever grown up with Murray Gold’s bombastic orchestral music as the sound of Doctor Who, it’s impressive that Silva Screen managed to constrain the new series highlights to a single disc.

But considering that, before the track listing was announced, I fully expected much of this set to be tilted in favor of the new series, the 50th Anniversary Collection is a pleasant surprise from start to finish. Fans weaned on the David Tennant years may be shocked to discover how much the “house style” of Doctor Who has changed, but those of us who grew up with Tom Baker or his predecessors will find much to love here. Yes, the first disc has a lot of sound effects on it, but they’re almost music in their own unique way – the sound of the living, breathing alien worlds found in Lime Grove Studio “D” so many years ago. And I never thought we’d get, on CD, such music as Don Harper’s sinister spy-movie-inspired strains from The Invasion, or the Dudley Simpson tracks that we have here.

I’m a little surprised to see that the two 1960s movies starring the late Peter Cushing as quirky but perfectly human inventor Dr. Who are not represented here. Silva released all of the available score material from both of those movies in their entirety some time back, so they have access to (and rights to) the recordings. I suppose they get excluded for not being part 4 out of 4
of the TV franchise, but if there was any concern that the ’60s-centric CD had too many sound effects, I wonder why these tracks weren’t considered for inclusion. With every passing year, Cushing’s brief tenure as the TARDIS traveler grows more obscure, so I suspect I’m alone in thinking there should have been some hint of the movies here.

The 50th Anniversary Collection is a dandy sampling of the Doctor’s ever-evolving musical accompaniment over the years.

Order this CDDisc One

  1. Doctor Who (Original Theme) (2:20)
  2. An Unearthly Child: Three Guitars Mood 2 (2:03)
  3. An Unearthly Child – TARDIS Takeoff (0:49)
  4. The Daleks (The Dead Planet): Forest Atmosphere (1:07)
  5. The Daleks (The Dead Planet): Forest With Creature (0:54)
  6. The Daleks (The Dead Planet): City Music 1 and 2 (0:56)
  7. The Daleks (The Dead Planet): The Daleks (0:32)
  8. The Daleks (The Survivors) – Dalek Control Room (0:34)
  9. The Daleks (The Ambush): The Ambush (2:00)
  10. The Daleks – Capsule Oscillation (Dalek Destructor Fuse / Bomb Countdown) (0:19)
  11. The Edge of Destruction – Explosion, TARDIS Stops (1:10)
  12. The Keys of Marinus – Sleeping Machine (0:52)
  13. The Chase – Dalek Spaceship Lands (0:17)
  14. The Chase – TARDIS Lands (0:11)
  15. Galaxy Four – Chumbley (Constant Run) (0:27)
  16. Galaxy Four – Chumbley at Rest (0:28)
  17. Galaxy Four: Marche (Les Structures Sonores) (2:40)
  18. The Daleks’ Master Plan (The Nightmare Begins): A Strange Sickness (0:44)
  19. The Daleks’ Master Plan (Destruction of Time): Growing Menace (2:08)
  20. The Gunfighters: Excerpts from ‘The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon’ (3:51)
  21. The Tenth Planet: Space Adventure Part 2 (1:21)
  22. The Macra Terror – Heartbeat Chase (1:57)
  23. The Macra Terror – Chromophone Band (1:56)
  24. The Macra Terror – Propaganda Sleep Machine (1:08)
  25. The Tomb of the Cybermen – Sideral Universe (2:26)
  26. The Tomb of the Cybermen – Space Time Music Part 1 (1:21)
  27. The Web of Fear – Space Time Music Part 2 (1:19)
  28. Fury from the Deep – Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill (Incidental Music) (0:39)
  29. The Wheel in Space – Cyberman Stab & Music (1:32)
  30. The Wheel in Space – Birth of Cybermats (0:44)
  31. The Wheel in Space – Interior Rocket (Suspense Music) (1:55)
  32. The Dominators – Galaxy Atmosphere (1:04)
  33. The Mind Robber – Zoe’s Theme (1:20)
  34. The Invasion: The Dark Side of the Moon (0:31)
  35. The Invasion: The Company (1:31)
  36. The Krotons – Machine and City Theme (1:49)
  37. The Krotons – Kroton Theme (2:14)
  38. The Seeds of Death: Titles (0:35)
  39. The Seeds of Death: Ice Warriors Music (0:26)
  40. The War Games – Time Lord Court (1:32)
  41. Doctor Who (New Opening, 1967 – full version) (2:20)
  42. The Mind of Evil: The Master’s Theme (0:43)
  43. The Mind of Evil: Hypnosis Music (0:36)
  44. The Mind of Evil: Dover Castle (0:29)
  45. The Mind of Evil – Keller Machine Appears and Vanishes (0:22)
  46. The Mind of Evil: Keller Machine Theme (0:43)
  47. The Claws of Axos – Copy machine tickover (0:16)
  48. The Claws of Axos: The Axons Approach (1:45)
  49. Music from ‘The Sea Devils’ (5:24)
  50. Music from ‘The Mutants’ (7:12)
  51. Music from ‘Frontier in Space’ Episode 1 (1:46)
  52. Music from ‘Death to the Daleks’ (3:50)
  53. Planet of the Spiders – Metebelis III Atmosphere (1:53)

Disc Two

  1. Doctor Who Opening Title Theme (0:44)
  2. The Ark In Space – Nerva Beacon Infrastructure and TMat Couch (1:42)
  3. Music from “Revenge of the Cybermen” (5:28)
  4. Terror of the Zygons: The Destruction of Charlie Rig (0:42)
  5. Terror of the Zygons: A Landing in Scotland (1:22)
  6. Terror of the Zygons: The Zygons Attack (0:51)
  7. Music from “The Android Invasion” Episodes 3 and 4 (6:32)
  8. The Brain of Morbius – The Planet Karn (1:50)
  9. The Seeds of Doom: Antarctica – The First Pod (2:17)
  10. The Seeds of Doom: Get Dunbar! / Krynoid On The Loose (2:55)
  11. The Masque of Mandragora – The Mandragora Helix (1:26)
  12. Music from “The Invasion of Time” Episodes 3 and 4 (5:36)
  13. Doctor Who Closing Titles (40? Version) (1:15)
  14. Doctor Who 1980 (Opening Titles) (0:38)
  15. The Leisure Hive: Into Argolis (1:44)
  16. Full Circle: K9 on a Mission (0:35)
  17. The Keeper of Traken: Nyssa’s Theme (0:41)
  18. Logopolis: It’s The End… (3:18)
  19. Doctor Who 1980 (Closing Titles) (1:16)
  20. Castrovalva (3:18)
  21. Four to Doomsday: Exploring the Lab (1:46)
  22. Earthshock – March Of The Cybermen (5:13)
  23. Mawdryn Undead (4:19)
  24. The Five Doctors (5:29)
  25. Warriors of the Deep (3:53)
  26. Resurrection of the Daleks (5:01)
  27. The Caves of Androzani (Alternative Suite) (6:07)
  28. Doctor Who Theme (1980 – Full Version) (2:42)

Disc Three

  1. The Twin Dilemma (4:04)
  2. The Mark of the Rani (3:45)
  3. The Two Doctors (3:15)
  4. Timelash (5:51)
  5. Revelation of the Daleks (3:53)
  6. Doctor Who 1986 (2:53)
  7. The Trial of a Time Lord: The Mysterious Planet (3:21)
  8. The Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids (2:44)
  9. The Trial of a Time Lord: The Ultimate Foe (3:16)
  10. Doctor Who 1987 2:38()
  11. Music from ‘Time and the Rani’ (1:38)
  12. Delta and the Bannermen: “Here’s to the Future” (1:57)
  13. Music from ‘Dragonfire’ (3:02)
  14. Music from ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ (5:32)
  15. Music from ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy’ (3:23)
  16. Music from ‘Battlefield’ (4:41)
  17. Music from ‘The Curse of Fenric’ (6:35)
  18. Music from ‘Survival’ (5:28)
  19. “…and somewhere else, the tea’s getting cold” (from ”Survival”) (0:24)
  20. Prologue: Skaro / “Doctor Who” Theme (1:34)
  21. “Who Am I?” (1:55)
  22. The Chase (Original Version) (2:20)
  23. “Open the Eye” (2:25)
  24. Farewell (1:35)
  25. End Credits / “Doctor Who” Theme (0:49)

Disc Four

  1. Doctor Who Theme – TV Version (0:42)
  2. Doctor Who: Series 1 – Rose’s Theme (2:15)
  3. Doctor Who: Series 2 – Doomsday (5:08)
  4. Doctor Who: Series 3 – All The Strange Strange Creatures (The Trailer Music) (4:07)
  5. Doctor Who: Series 3 – Martha’s Theme (3:42)
  6. Doctor Who: Series 3 – Boe (3:44)
  7. Doctor Who: Series 3 – The Doctor Forever (4:19)
  8. Doctor Who: Series 3 – This Is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home (3:18)
  9. Doctor Who: Series 3 – Donna’s Theme (3:16)
  10. Doctor Who: Series 4 – Song Of Freedom (2:51)
  11. Doctor Who: Series 4-The Specials – The Master Suite (4:33)
  12. Doctor Who: Series 4-The Specials – Four Knocks (3:58)
  13. Doctor Who: Series 4-The Specials – Vale Decem (3:20)
  14. Doctor Who: Series 5 – I Am The Doctor (4:03)
  15. Doctor Who: Series 5 – The Mad Man With A Box (2:09)
  16. Doctor Who: Series 5 – Amy’s Theme (2:08)
  17. Doctor Who: Series 6 – Melody Pond (4:43)
  18. Doctor Who: Series 6 – The Wedding Of River Song (2:36)
  19. Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol – Abigail’s Song (Silence Is All You Know) (5:33)
  20. Doctor Who: Series 7 – Towards The Asylum (2:25)
  21. Doctor Who: Series 7 – Together Or Not At All – The Song Of Amy And Rory (3:17)
  22. Doctor Who: Series 7 – Up The Shard (3:02)
  23. Doctor Who: Series 7 – The Long Song (3:39)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 2013
Disc one total running time: 79:01
Disc two total running time: 78:40
Disc three total running time: 78:58
Disc four total running time: 78:48

The Worlds Of Doctor Who

World of Doctor WhoThe last hurrah for Silva Screen’s license to release Doctor Who music on CD in the 1990s, Worlds Of Doctor Who largely consists of music you’ve heard before if you’ve heard the same label’s other Doctor Who output, give or take a surprise or two.

The album opens and closes with two new versions of the famous theme music, the “Lightning Version” at the beginning and the lively “Spoons Version” at the end. As you might’ve guessed, the latter rendition of the theme is practically built around a guest performance on the spoons by Sylvester McCoy himself; it’s an interesting novelty, right up there with Jon Pertwee’s “I Am The Doctor”, but not much more than that. Both of these new arrangements wouldn’t have been out of place on the Variations On A Theme EP.

After the “Lightning Version”, things proceed very much along the lines of Silva’s original Earthshock compilation CD, providing classic clips arranged more or less chronologically, starting with the original BBC 45 version of the 1960s theme tune and then going straight into the Dudley Simpson single “The World Of Doctor Who” (built around music from the 1971 Pertwee adventure The Mind Of Evil). Selections from The Sea Devils and several Tom Baker adventures follow, the latter material coming from Heathcliff Blair’s Pyramids Of Mars re-recordings of classic Simpson scores from that era. At least some canny choices were made here to present the most listenable and accessible material.

After the 1980 Doctor Who theme arranged by Peter Howell, we segue into the more modern, synth-heavy sound of the Davison era; again, the material heard here has been heard before (not just on previous Silva Doctor Who soundtrack compilations, but on the 1980s BBC LP releases that those compilations drew from). To vary things up a bit, material that isn’t necessarily strictly from Doctor Who begins sneaking into the playlist during the 80s section, including Mark Ayres’ theme for the Myth Makers interview videos. This material, too, has been presented before by Silva, on Ayres’ Myths And Other Legends solo release.

Things get a bit more interesting with the suites of Ayres’ music from the last two seasons of the original series. The material has been heard before, but here it’s edited into three eight-minute-or-longer suites (one each for The Greatest Show In The Galaxy, Ghost Light and The Curse Of Fenric) where, again, the best material is brought to the fore. Those three episode scores have also been released in their entirety by Silva, but Ayres picked out his own best material (and it has to be said that I agree with him just about 100% on the selections he made for the suites) and put it all into a single track per episode. No new interstitial material tries to introduce cohesion to the suites; there are stops, starts and pauses between individual cues, but nothing too jarring.

Things are capped off with the first CD release of Ayres’ “Return To Devils’ End” suite, composed for a documentary video of the same name which reunited the cast and crew of the Pertwee-era classic story The Daemons at the original shooting locations. A true Dudley Simpson afficionado, Ayres creates an even better homage to “the Simpson sound” here than Heathcliff Blair managed with the original Simpson sheet music. The “Spoons Version” of the theme music wraps things up.

3 out of 4If you’re wondering about the music from Shakedown: Return Of The Sontarans and Downtime, two of the better fan-produced video drama spinoffs of the 90s, both of those projects’ scores were released in their entirety on Silva CDs as well, but not until after this CD’s release.

It’s a nice sampler CD of Doctor Who soundtrack cues, with a smidgeon of new (but hardly canonical) material, so there are worse ways for Silva Screen to have closed out their Who catalog.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who (Lightning Version) (5:17)
  2. TARDIS – Doctor Who (2:37)
  3. The World Of Doctor Who (2:39)
  4. The Sea Devils (3:19)
  5. The Ark In Space (0:50)
  6. Pyramids Of Mars (3:59)
  7. The Brain Of Morbius (3:11)
  8. Doctor Who Theme: 1980-85 (2:37)
  9. Meglos (1:32)
  10. The Five Doctors (5:24)
  11. The Caves Of Androzani (6:07)
  12. Myth Makers Theme (2:11)
  13. Doctor Who (Terror Version) (4:16)
  14. Terror In Totters Lane (1:55)
  15. The Greatest Show In The Galaxy (8:31)
  16. Ghost Light (8:05)
  17. The Curse Of Fenric (8:57)
  18. Return To Devils’ End (2:51)
  19. Doctor Who (Spoon Version) (4:27)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 1994
Total running time: 78:45

Doctor Who, Volume 4: Meglos / Full Circle

Doctor Who, Volume 4: Meglos / Full Circle soundtrackAs the BBC’s excellent range of remastered Doctor Who music CDs reaches into the early 80s era of the show, sonic gems are being unearthed for the first time in years. If any proof be needed, check out the music from Full Circle, a 1980 story infamous in some fans’ eyes for introducing awkward youth Adric to the TARDIS crew. Paddy Kingsland’s memorable melodic score for Full Circle features a number of themes that beg – no, demand – to be hummed long after you’ve hit the stop button. Kingsland went on to score many other Doctor Who episodes, including the pivotal regeneration story Logopolis, but even though he has an instantly recognizable style, he seldom repeats actual material from story to story. (Kingsland’s trademark style was also a big part of the musical sound of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.) Unusually, the other score featured on this disc was divided up between Kingsland and Peter Howell (who arranged the most enduring of the 1980s’ versions of the Doctor Who theme). Meglos was a bit of a muddled exercise as far as storytelling goes, but musically it takes an interesting approach, including the use of a vocoder to weave random syllables and occasionally even story-relevant “lyrics” into the music.

4 out of 4The disc’s material has been fully remastered and remixed into stereo by Mark Ayres, and the effort poured into archiving and preserving the music is outstanding. Simply to have the music from Full Circle on CD has been a dream of mine for years – almost since I first saw the show – and that alone makes this latest volume of the BBC’s Doctor Who music series a worthwhile purchase.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who: Opening Theme (0:38)
  2. Burnout On Walkway 9 (1:10)
  3. The Deons (1:29)
  4. K9 Repaired (0:16)
  5. The Screens Of Zolpha-Thura (3:09)
  6. The Last Zolpha-Thuran (3:31)
  7. Chronic Hysteresis (1:59)
  8. To Tigella (1:55)
  9. The Deon Oath (1:24)
  10. The Power Room (0:51)
  11. The Bell Plants (2:10)
  12. Meglos (1:31)
  13. “She’s Seen Too Much!” (1:40)
  14. The Dodecahedron (1:43)
  15. The Ultimate Impossibility (1:01)
  16. The Deons Take Command (2:31)
  17. Earthling (1:04)
  18. Sacrifice (4:09)
  19. Other Lives To Save (1:17)
  20. Countdown (4:14)
  21. Summons To Gallifrey (1:27)
  22. Alzarius / The Outlers (1:07)
  23. The System Files / Adric (1:15)
  24. Mistfall (4:15)
  25. The Starliner (0:47)
  26. Decider Deceased (0:35)
  27. Adric Finds The TARDIS (0:40)
  28. Starliner Sealed (0:54)
  29. The Giants Leave The Swamp (1:57)
  30. K9 On A Mission / Third Decider (1:23)
  31. TARDIS Taken (1:57)
  32. The Marsh Child / K9 Loses His Head (2:43)
  33. The Spiders I (1:26)
  34. The Spiders II (0:26)
  35. A Little Patience (1:14)
  36. Romana Comatose (0:49)
  37. The Bookroom (0:34)
  38. The Experiment (1:22)
  39. The Work Of Maintenance (0:50)
  40. Marshmen I (2:43)
  41. Blue Veins (2:01)
  42. Marshmen II (1:24)
  43. No Return (1:01)
  44. Oxygen (3:02)
  45. Full Circle / The Deciders Decide (2:29)
  46. Doctor Who: Closing Theme (1:18)

Released by: BBC Music
Release date: 2002
Total running time: 77:48

Doctor Who, Volume 3: The Leisure Hive

Doctor Who, Volume 3: The Leisure Hive soundtrackIn 1979, John Nathan-Turner took over the producer’s seat of Doctor Who and set about making sweeping changes to the show’s visual look, storytelling style, and even the signature sound effects and music. Dudley Simpson had been composing almost all of the music for every episode since 1970, but Nathan-Turner was concerned that, as Simpson was also doing the music for the BBC’s other SF series, Blake’s 7, the two shows now sounded too similar. The producer approached the BBC’s own Radiophonic Workshop, which had provided the series’ sound effects and main theme since 1963, to provided incidental music as well – and the change in sound was drastic. Dudley Simpson’s simple but elegant acoustic ensemble gave way to the Radiophonic Workshop’s expansive, all-electronic synth-orchestra, and nowhere was this contrast as evident as with the first story of Nathan-Turner’s reign, The Leisure Hive. Peter Howell, who also arranged the new version of the show’s famous theme music, let loose with a barrage of music that fits the definition of a “wall of sound,” with thick, Vangelis-style texture drenching much of the action. In his small portion of the liner notes, Howell confesses that The Leisure Hive’s music was, perhaps, “too omnipresent” – and he does have a point, as Leisure Hive may have been the most music-heavy Doctor Who until The Curse Of Fenric or, perhaps, The Five Doctors. But it’s a ton of good, solid analog-synth fun, and in the context of what had come before it was certainly a great shock.

Also included, with a dedication to the late Delia Derbyshire, is a newly-reconstructed stereo mix of the original theme music assembled by Mark Ayres from tapes of the original elements Derbyshire used to build 4 out of 4the theme in 1963. Maybe I was expecting a little more wild, surround-sound-style stereo separation of those elements, but most of the stereo enhancement seems to be focused on the persistent “whooshing” sounds and not the music itself. There’s also a selection of sound effects from Leisure Hive, Meglos and Full Circle; music from the latter two stories is presented on Volume 4 of the Radiophonic Workshop collection.

Order this CD

  1. Doctor Who: Opening Theme (0:38)
  2. Brighton Beach / K9 Kaput (2:54)
  3. Into Argolis (2:36)
  4. The Generator / Intruders (3:20)
  5. “His Time Has Come” / Earth Shuttle Arrives (1:55)
  6. Tachyon Terror (0:56)
  7. Into The Generator (4:16)
  8. The Hive / Mena Fades (3:04)
  9. Looking For Mr. Brock (3:57)
  10. Testing Time (5:09)
  11. The Limitation Program (1:56)
  12. The West Lodge (2:03)
  13. The Child Of The Generator (1:39)
  14. The Foamasi (4:59)
  15. The Argolin Dawn (3:05)
  16. “We, Pangol” (3:55)
  17. Re-Creation (4:11)
  18. Rebirth (3:19)
  19. Back To Work (0:46)
  20. FX: Argolis Exterior Planet Atmosphere (2:05)
  21. FX: Earth Shuttle Arriving (1:04)
  22. FX: Generator Hall (1:30)
  23. FX: Boardroom (1:38)
  24. FX: Hologram (0:32)
  25. FX: Corridor Background (0:57)
  26. FX: Generator And Screen (0:31)
  27. FX: Tachyon Drive Engaged (0:30)
  28. FX: The Screens Of Zolpha-Thura (1:01)
  29. FX: Laboratory Ascends (1:11)
  30. FX: Dodecahedron Energy Beams (0:31)
  31. FX: Mistfall Mist (0:51)
  32. FX: Operating Room (1:02)
  33. FX: Starliner Instrument Panel (1:02)
  34. Doctor Who Theme: Original Version, 2002 Stereo Remix (2:21)

Released by: BBC Music
Release date: 2002
Total running time: 73:11

Doctor Who, Volume 2: New Beginnings 1970-1979

Doctor Who, Volume 2: New Beginnings 1970-1979 soundtrackThis selection of freshly unearthed, newly remastered music and sound effects from the 1970s, arguably Doctor Who’s heyday with the role being played by Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker (the two longest-serving actors in the part), is quite an interesting listen.

Central to this lengthy CD is a suite of cues from Malcolm Clarke’s score for the 1972 six-parter The Sea Devils, which had previously been represented on an earlier Silva Screen collection by a track of “edited highlights.” Clarke’s abstract electronic music, in fourteen tracks of its full glory, will likely still be inaccessible to many listeners. This is electronic music at its most abstract and challenging. Mark Ayres’ liner notes aren’t kidding when they cite Clarke’s Sea Devils score as “undoubtedly some of the most uncompromising electronic music ever to feature in mainstream popular entertaiment.” In places, the music sounds more like sound effects gone berzerk, and yet in other places, there are clear, tonal ideas being explored. To be honest, I’m actually able to grok the Sea Devils music more now than I did when I first watched the six-parter from which the music originated.

Other gems include some previously unreleased Dudley Simpson cues from The Mind Of Evil and The Claws Of Axos; though Simpson was a freelance composer, he did experiment with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s capabilities early in the 1970s. A brief selection of sound effects, none of which – thankfully – were previously released in 1993 as part of 30 Years at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, draws material from the period between Jon Pertwee’s last season as the Doctor and Tom Baker’s penultimate year in the part.

The real Holy Grail of this whole endeavour comes in the form of two tracks toward the end of the CD. These never-before-heard cues by Peter Howell, who composed many of the better Radiophonic Workshop scores for Doctor Who in the 1980s, were part of a demo recorded to scenes of a 1979 episode to demonstrate to the series’ then-new producer John Nathan-Turner that the Radiophonic Workshop was up to the task of scoring entire episodes in addition to providing sound effects.

Also included is the pre-requisite selection of different versions of the theme music, including the 1970 “stutter-start” edit (which, truth be told, I’ve always rather liked), the infamous “Delaware” version, and other minor variations.

3 out of 4Is this second volume of the Radiophonic Workshop series worth picking up? Well…maybe. I like it, but the Sea Devils suite may be musical anathaema to those with more traditional tastes, and since that is what takes up most of Volume Two, that will probably determine whether or not you care to shell out your hard-earned money to buy it.

Order this CD

  1. Music: Doctor Who (opening title theme, 1970) (0:46)
  2. FX: Tardis control on & warp transfer (0:22)
  3. Blue Veils & Golden Sands (3:25)
  4. The Delian Mode (3:33)
  5. The Master’s Theme (0:43)
  6. Dover Castle (0:39)
  7. FX: Keller Machine appears/vanishes (0:23)
  8. Keller Machine Theme (0:42)
  9. FX: Brain centre atmosphere (0:21)
  10. The Axons Approach (1:45)
  11. TARDIS lands (0:22)
  12. Doctor Who (closing title theme, 1970 (1:13)
  13. The Prison (1:19)
  14. The Master (2:05)
  15. The Naval Base (1:28)
  16. The Sea Fort (2:13)
  17. Stranded (2:39)
  18. The Sea Devil (2:43)
  19. The Master At Large (3:04)
  20. Air Conditioning Problem (0:48)
  21. Duel (1:44)
  22. The Master’s Plan (1:31)
  23. The Submarine (1:52)
  24. Jo Frees The Doctor (1:11)
  25. Rock Bottom (1:15)
  26. The Beach (1:57)
  27. The Minefield (0:23)
  28. Devil Underwater (1:18)
  29. The Doctor And Jo On The Run (0:35)
  30. The Sea Devils Take The Prison (3:24)
  31. The Diving Bell (1:23)
  32. Mr. Walker’s War (3:05)
  33. Torpedo (1:28)
  34. Attack In Force (2:02)
  35. Ventilation Shaft (1:20)
  36. Sea Chase (2:06)
  37. Escape (0:46)
  38. Doctor Who (stereo version, 1972) (2:21)
  39. Doctor Who (Delaware version, 1972) (2:08)
  40. FX: Aggedor’s temple atmosphere, Peladon (0:59)
  41. FX: Metebelis 3 atmosphere (1:51)
  42. FX: Nerva Beacon infrastructure & T-Mat couch (1:42)
  43. FX: The Planet Karn (1:49)
  44. FX: The Shrine of the Sisterhood of Karn (1:13)
  45. FX: The Mandragora Helix (0:46)
  46. FX: Nova Device Countdown & Explosion (0:12)
  47. Demo 1 (1:13)
  48. Demo 2 (1:07)
  49. Doctor Who (new theme, 1980) (2:42)

Released by: BBC Music
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 78:19

The Doctor Who 25th Anniversary Album

The Doctor Who 25th Anniversary AlbumThis was the first Doctor Who music released to CD as part of the show’s highly-merchandised silver anniversary in 1988. The greatest distinction of this CD – which is now out of print and getting harder to find with each passing year – is that it contains every broadcast version (minus a handful of barely-distinguishable variations which later cropped up on 30 Years at the Radiophonic Workshop) of the famous Doctor Who theme music, from the creepy 1960s/70s incarnation (achieved entirely by tape-looping means that would seem incredibly primitive today) to the various and sundry versions that kept changing throughout the 1980s: the synth-guitar-driven theme from the Peter Davison era (my favorite), the less effective electronic version from Colin Baker’s final season in the role, and the more atmospheric version by Keff McCulloch that ushered the show out of its existence with Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor. Numerous incidentals from the 1987 and 1988 episodes also appear on this album, all of them by Keff McCulloch, but their abundance of cheap synth sounds and sampled hand-clap percussion gets old very 2 out of 4quickly; a handful, such as one haunting twisted-lullaby theme from 1988’s Remembrance Of The Daleks, barely stand the test of time. But if you’re after an almost complete catalog of the show’s theme music (the wonderful orchestral version which introduced the 1996 Fox TV movie is unavailable anywhere), this is a worthwhile disc to seek out.

Order this CD

  1. TARDIS – Doctor Who theme 1963-1979 (2:26)
  2. Doctor Who theme 1987-1989 (0:56)
  3. Gavrok’s Search (2:11)
  4. A Child’s Return (2:33)
  5. Towers el Paradiso (2:42)
  6. Burton’s Escape (1:24)
  7. Drinksmat Dawning (1:30)
  8. Future Pleasure (3:19)
  9. Newsreel Past (2:52)
  10. The Sting (1:43)
  11. Doctor Who theme 1980-1985 (2:42)
  12. Doctor Who theme 1986 (2:56)
  13. 8891 Royale (1:56)
  14. The White Flag (1:44)
  15. Guards of Silence (2:39)
  16. The Making of Pex (1:23)
  17. Cemetary Chase (2:26)
  18. The Brain (3:03)
  19. Here’s to the Future (1:59)
  20. Goodbye, Doctor (0:35)
  21. Doctor Who end credits 1987-1989 (1:14)

Released by: BBC Records
Release date: 1988
Total running time: 44:13