The origins of this playlist start with a childhood memory.
As a kid, I was obsessed with the music to Doctor Who. I didn't (and still can't) care that much for what happens between the opening and closing credits, but I'm pretty certain that it was that theme tune that got me started in my lifelong love of electronic, experimental and whatever non-pop music there is.
That theme introduced me to the genius that is Delia Derbyshire. The high pitch sounds (created at the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop), were from the future and had been brought to me, not by a quirky time traveller, but by a well-spoken Cambridge graduate from Coventry.
This week, Derbyshire is one of a handful of the female pioneers of electronic music featured in the documentary 'Sisters with Transistors.' Amongst others featured are Clara Rockmore, who is best known for performing Tchaikovsky on the Theremin and Laurie Spiegel, whose music has travelled through the solar system onboard Voyager 1. Many of those featured in the film never got the recognition that they deserved in an industry ruled by men.
As well as those early pioneers, I wanted this playlist to include other female artists that are currently making extraordinary and, primarily electronic, music. Amongst these is the much-celebrated Hannah Peel (whose current album re-interprets Delia Derbyshire's 'KPM1000 Series: Electrosonics') as well as music from my favourite albums of 2019 (Anna Meredith's 'FIBS') and last year: ('Healing is a Miracle' by Julianna Barwick).
Finally, you'll hear only male voice when listening to this playlist, it appears on the unnerving 'Bright Red' by Laurie Anderson - and it's that of her late husband, Lou Reed. I couldn’t put together a compilation of electronic/experimental music without Anderson (she narrates the 'Sisters With Transistors' film) and needed to reach for something beyond the iconic 'Big Science' album.
Welcome to the future…
Sisters With Transistors movie website