desmond briscoe

The Radiophonic Workshop

In April 1958 Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram founded the Radiophonic Workshop in the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios. This was a studio where producers could manipulate tape to make sound effects for radio and TV, and compose music from recordings by speeding them up, slowing them down, cutting them up and sticking them in different places, drawing onto the tape and other such techniques. This created sounds that the public had never heard before.

Picture: Prolific member of the Radiophonic Workshop - Delia Derbyshire

You can see the machines they used at the Radiophonic Workshop and use digital technology to try it out yourself at the Oramics exhibition on Level 2 of London’s Science Museum.

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Phase IV trailer (with music by Desmond Briscoe)

Even further mindblowing from 2:00 onwards. Sadly this footage was edited from the theatrical release and, until an archive print was found this June, only existed in the trailer.

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Samuel Beckett (feat. Desmond Briscoe) - Embers

The second BBC collaboration between Beckett & Briscoe; conventional wisdom (and Beckett himself) appear to have it that this play was a failure, but I might prefer it to “All That Fall”. The Radiophonics are in full effect here, and I appreciate the Lynchian layers of uncertainty that seem to have been a problem for Beckett scholars and the reviewers of the time. As Milligan might have said for laughs seconds after “Embers” died away: “It’s all rather confusing, really.”