Apr 252008

Bebe Barron died on 20th April, at the age of (most sources say) 82. With her then husband Louis, she created the still stunningly unique electronic soundtrack to the classic science fiction film Forbidden Planet. This news item from Variety is refreshingly to the point. Refer to the usual sources for a selection of facts and hype – but the Barrons were genuine pioneers in electronic music, and their legacy of work remains in a class of its own.

Not so widely reported is the fact that just a few days later, on the 24th April, Tristram Cary died, also at the age of 82. He created music using tape, electronics and scores for conventional acoustic instruments, and coincidentally we were enjoying his soundtrack to the original appearance of the Daleks in an episode of vintage Dr Who from 1963 just last week. This posting seems informative although it concerns itself particularly with Tristram Cary’s cartoon soundtracks. Other posts mention his role in the British synthesiser manufacturer EMS, whereas the BBC describes him as “the Murray Gold of his day”, predictably missing the salient points entirely. More helpfully the Music Thing site links to an old but relevant documentary called What the Future Sounded Like. Let’s watch it now. And then we should watch Forbidden Planet yet again, to remind ourselves of what the future used to look like too, back in the days when at least some of the time people looked forward to it!


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