Catalogue No.


Awesome electronic music made by pioneering ex Radiophonic super genius.

To extract the soul of a sound has always been my aim. My methodology upon hearing complex everyday noises has been to analyse, record, manipulate then re-use, hopefully in new and surprising ways. I hope these tracks communicate my love for experimentation whilst perhaps conveying a gentler side to early synthesiser & digital music production. Elizabeth Parker. As we began the mammoth task of whittling down material for this LP Elizabeth recalled the time she met Delia Derbyshire. It was during a party for existing and former Radiophonic Workshop composers held at BBC Maida Vale in the early 1980’s. Delia approached her with typical energy & exuberance proclaiming “It’s up to you now - I’m passing the baton. Show these men how we get things done”. That must have been quite an honour & responsibility for a young, female composer establishing herself within the male-dominated studio environs at Delaware Road. Looking back over a musical career spanning almost five decades it’s clear Elizabeth rose to the challenge & made her mark. She was consistently in demand with TV, film & radio producers, composing for an array of ground-breaking, critically acclaimed & commercially successful projects. Yet whilst Delia’s legacy has achieved mythic status as an innovator & feminist icon, the majority of Elizabeth’s recorded work has remained unavailable &, consequently, under-appreciated.

It is hoped this record will begin to remedy the situation. Included are early tape experiments, home demos & non-BBC projects from the 1970s to the late 2000’s. Having listened through 260+ digital audio tapes from Elizabeth’s personal archive I can assure you we’ve barely skimmed the surface. Hopefully we’ve still managed to illustrate the breadth of her compositional & sound design skills.

Classically trained in cello & piano, Elizabeth graduated from the University of East Anglia with a degree in Music in 1973. She was mentored by Tristram Cary who helped her become UEA’s first recipient of a Masters degree in Electronic music & later she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Staffordshire University. Entering the BBC as a studio manager in 1975 Elizabeth joined the Workshop in 1978. One of her first commissions was to create sound effects for Blake’s 7 using tape loops, the EMS 100 & VCS3. Her ground-breaking score for The Living Planet in 1982 incorporated early use of the PPG synthesizer with unusual sound sources, earning her an Emmy nomination. Studio technology was evolving rapidly at this time but Elizabeth transitioned from analogue to digital with relative ease, embracing the use of samplers, midi sequencers & computer controlled workstations.

With an incredible 1,400 commissions to her name for TV and radio, she created special sound for The Day of the Triffids, Lord of the Rings, countless radio dramas including Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea, Harold Pinter’s Moonlight, all of Howard Barker’s plays, productions of King Lear, Wordsworth’s Prelude & The Pallisers. The success of The Living Planet led to further work with the BBC Natural History Unit followed by numerous commissions for The Natural World. At one point in the late 1980’s Elizabeth had at least 5 of her signature tunes broadcast every week including Points of View, Horizon, Doctors to Be, Survivors and Everyman.

After the closure of the Workshop in 1996 she became freelance, arranging Faure’s Pavane for the BBC World Cup ‘98 coverage (reaching no. 9 in the UK singles chart), writing additional music for Monty Python’s Holy Grail DVD, scoring Michael Palin’s Full Circle & Sahara series & The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Elizabeth retired from the music industry in the late 2000’s & recently returned to her East Anglian roots, living near the coast. She walks daily whilst listening to music, new & old, on her beloved air-pods.

All tracks written & produced by Elizabeth Parker audio transfers + notes by Alan Gubby compilation produced by Jonny Trunk

Here are the cues, with notes by Elizabeth herself.

A1 Space Drift created with a Synthi 100 in 1974 whilst studying under Tristram Carey for my Masters in Music at the University of East Anglia - later re-used in part for a space programme.
A2 Memory Loss layering my voice in loops.
A3 Siren-call more experimenting with multi-track voice loops.
A4 Harmonisers of the Spheres created with my voice & effects.
A5 Telepathy beyond Time another early experiment with harmoniser & voice.
A6 Older than time I loved playing with this modulating synth sound, mixed with vocoder.
A7 Congestion Hoe-down just a bit of fun.
A8 Shadowland I recorded boat shrouds flapping in the wind plus low oscillators mixed with my breath & whispering.
A9 Celandine and Columbine similar to John Baker’s technique of splicing sounds together, I took loops from 1977 & fed them through various equipment including a harmoniser.
A10 The Dying of the Light started in my mind as a low orange sunset over purple hills, a sense of history & timelessness.
A11 Cloud surfing playing with non-structured sound effects & a marimba loop, trying to escape the tyranny of the sequencer.
A12 Darkness At Noon one of my favourite pieces - no synths, using the sound of a struck piano falling downwards & heavily treated - samples by me, apart from the meandering sax near the end, the initial idea for an espionage programme.
A13 Future Perfect aiming for a sparse futuristic environment.
A14 The Killing Skies my ‘telegraph wire’ sound, created by manipulating the recording of boat wires whistling in the wind in the late 70s - I used this often in my work - a useful and unique sound. With treated cymbal and synths.

B1 Into the Depths She Calls using whale sounds & my voice, plus other studio samples from the late 70s - influenced by 10CC’s “I’m not in Love” with multi-layered vocals, mixed at Decca using a Sensaura technique.
B2 Lazy summer afternoons exactly that, lying in a hammock between plum & greengage trees, gazing at a clear blue sky.
B3 Insects Revolt insects caught in the light, flying madly - created by flipping through book pages & sampling them for the wings.
B4 Blood Runs Cold synths with feeling.
B5 Post Apocalypse Fog manipulated scaffolding creaks.
B6 Fish don’t cry demo for a Swedish natural history prog about a whale washed ashore.
B7 Ghosts in the Abbey the choral sample was so evocative, igniting a dark side to my imagination
B8 Insects Dance a jumping sample, like hopscotch on a pavement, avoiding the “snakes” (pavement cracks) - I love “Golden Brown” by the Stranglers - this piece is based around a similar rhythm.
B9 Dreams of Magic and Cornfields a pitch for a beer ad featuring a magic musical box.
B10 Devil’s Lightening uses metallic sounds from scaffolding banging around our house in a storm - nothing was ever safe from my pocket recorder.
B11 Danger Hurts sinister high & low frequency digital drones.
B12 Why Me? Influenced by Arvo Part, understated simplicity - I recorded myself playing the cello, accompanied by synth strings.