DELIA DERBYSHIRE - The Myths And The Legendary Tapes
Cosey Fanni Tutti's attempt to integrate Delia Derbyshire's style with her own is a dense, fascinating listen, using the Radiophonic Workshop composer's original notes for guidance on a full length suite of engrossing mood pieces.
Cosey finds a subtle meeting point between her slithering electronics and Derbyshire's future-facing oscillator and tape transmissions. Unlike her last album, 2019's "Tutti", there's none of the industrial percussion that reminded listeners how instrumental she was in shaping the sound of British electronic music. Those hypnotic synth textures that have always been central to Cosey's music sound even more poignant when colligated with Derbyshire's unmistakable sonic fingerprints.
The problem with finding enough music to accompany a full-length movie about Derbyshire is that the composer didn't record a great deal of original pieces. Those we have access to - the original "Doctor Who" theme and classics like 'Blue Veils and Golden Sands' and 'The Delian Mode' - are too well known to keep reusing again and again. So Tutti went to Derbyshire's notorious tape archive - a box of 267 reel-to-reel tapes and thousands of papers - entrusted to the Radiophonic Workshop's Mark Ayres after she died. Most interestingly, the archive also includes notes from Derbyshire about how she fabricated her sounds, allowing Tutti to visit similar sonic spaces using her own arsenal of synthesisers and tape machines.
From the opening track Cosey stamps her own signature, playing her beloved Cornet thru a dense fog of reverb, with percolating electronics doing their thing somewhere down below in the aether. Radiophonic markers extend throughout the album, through delay and reverb, then a creeping low-end that brings us into Derbyshire's world. Cosey rubs her industrial wares against Derbyshire's library rhythms on tracks like 'Four Bebe' and the squelchy 'Brainwaves & Clogs', and while there are throwback moments, for sure, by the end of the album you feel like you've witnessed a full collaboration between two peerless innovators. Cosey x Delia? Imagine that.