“The Radiophonic Workshop has always broken new sonic ground, from the Doctor Who theme to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Now they’re at it again — this time using the internet as a musical instrument,” reports the Guardian. “The band includes composers from the original BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which created soundtracks for most BBC shows from the 60s to the 90s and influenced generations of musicians from Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield to Aphex Twin, Orbital and Mary Epworth…” A performance of Latency will take place at a special online event on 22 November using a technique inspired by lockdown Zoom calls… The internet has an unpredictable natural lag, or latency, caused by the milliseconds it takes for electrical signals from one computer to reach another, as anyone using Zoom has experienced. The trick that Bob Earland and Paddy Kingsland discovered was that they could extend the internet’s delay from a few milliseconds into several seconds. Instead of trying to play at the same time, the Radiophonic Workshop will play one after another — in sequence, rather than in parallel. “We had the bright idea of using that latency to make a loop of music,” Earland said. “The sound gets sent to someone, and they add to it, and it keeps going round. So you’re not relying on everyone being on the same clock…” Workshop member Peter Howell, who is also a lecturer in film and TV music, said: “It does feel like live playing, it’s just that every person has a little bubble of time in which they’re playing live.” The performance comes the day before 23 November, the anniversary of the first transmission of Doctor Who in 1963 which is also Delia Derbyshire Day, in honour of the Radiophonic Workshop’s leading light, who created the sound of the show’s famous theme tune.
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