It’s amazing that The Vibes is nearly one year old, and yet you’ve all been spared one of my great obsessions. I just got back from London, where Panos and I went to The Doctor Who Experience, part thrill-ride, part exhibition. It’s the nearest you can get to actually being in the fifty-year-old BBC sic-fi show. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the world of the Tardis, Doctor Who is the perfect story: an infinite format which can be applied to just about anything that’s happened, and everything that hasn’t. It’s all about an alien with a stolen time/spacecraft, roaming the universe in search of trouble, saving lives and planets and fighting evil.
This is a short film of our trip to space, which includes a remix of Delia Derbyshire’s ground-breaking electronic theme, which is widely regarded as the earliest example of techno. She recorded it in 1962. Read it and weep, Detroit.
Watch in high definition and full screen…
“All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere; every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?” as the Doctor says to his companion. When it comes to travel, he’s universally free range. The sheer scope of this format means that the show keeps regenerating, much like the Time Lord himself. It never gets boring and big hitters like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are eyeing the film rights as the Doctor’s profile continues to grow. For the madman with a box, this is going to be a great year. There, that was painless, wasn’t it?
The remix from the video can be listened to here,
I decided to remix Delia Derbyshire’s iconic and pioneering version of the Doctor Who theme to get me out of copyright wrangles when I posted the above video on YouTube. I took three samples, a ‘seething’ sound which was a kind of slithering hiss, the Tardis wheezing and a single bass note, which sounds a bit like a drum. It turned into an epic project and I stalled halfway through. Rather than go insane, I re-recorded the complete half of the track in reverse, and stuck it on the end of the first half, effectively doubling the length of the track and making it sound like I’d done twice the work. George Martin would love me. Delia, however would probably not join me on the dance floor as I threw shapes to the funked up version of her tune. And rightly so: her thundering realisation of Ron Grainer’s theme was the very first example of electronic dance music and about 20 years ahead of it’s time. It’s definitive and unique. No other piece of music has sounded like it before or since, and like a siren it excites and unsettles. It’s interesting to note that this version has never been successfully improved upon, in 50 years of Doctor Who.