The Vendetta Tapes is a collection of rare cues, tunes and sonic oddities lovingly crafted by John Baker & The Radiophonic Workshop for a 1960’s mafia caper TV show. Much of this has never been released before, and plenty of truly fascinating sounds are sprinkled all over. The CD has ten more tracks than the vinyl. On Buried Treasure.
LP £16.99 BUTR8LP
Awesome looking collection of rare Radiophonic Workshop material, 26 tracks on vinyl!.
CD £6.99 BUTR8CD
Awesome looking collection of rare Radiophonic Workshop material, 36 tracks on CD!.
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- The Vendetta Tapes by John Baker & The BBC Radiophonic Workshop
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John Baker was responsible for the majority of the tracks on ‘BBC Radiophonic Music’, the first LP from British institution the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. But for some reason his name isn't mentioned anywhere near as frequently as other members such as Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, Brian Hodgson or Malcolm Clarke. In 2008 good old Trunk Records did a grand job in rectifying the situation with the release of two volumes of ‘The John Baker Tapes’. During the curation of said album's, producer Alan Gubby discovered spools of sound effects and music for the BBC’s ‘Vendetta’ television series which ran from 1966-1968. The silver foxes amongst you may recall the cop thriller show’s theme which was actually written by another John -- John Barry but it was Baker who created the more interesting audio for the show, that is the incidental music. Now available for public consumption for the first time. The LP compiles some of the soundtracks highlights --26 cues from the series while the CD has 36.
Baker’s roots as a jazz pianist brought jazz to the Workshop and brought the electronic/ tape sounds of the workshop into his jazz. Across the album he not only plays piano but also incorporates flute and Sax.
The set of ‘The Sugar Man’ cues that open the album being a fine example of this cross pollination and coming off not unlike the quintessentially English eccentric jazz of Basil Kirchin. These particular cues are good fun, a place where smooth jazz collides with ludicrous comical twanging and what not.
'The Dolly Man' cues that follow are something like Ennio Morricone jamming with some frogs on Sesame Street. The nature of the material does mean that phrases are repeatedly scattered across the album, kind of holding things together but does mean the collection is far less diverse than the Trunk Compilations. The most stimulating moments for my ears are where things are at their strangest, but taken out of the context of the television programme even the more straightforward moments can have a bizarre quality. The tension that builds on a few of ‘The Ice Cream Man’ cues is particularly good but then abruptly ends just as I’m getting into it.
It’s the few purely electronic tracks that hold the most appeal for myself ‘Caves Of Steel (Cue 6)’ and ‘The Locusts: Plagues Of Man (cue 9)’ being a couple of highlights. These are a selection of a few bonus additional odds and ends and not actually part of the 'Vendetta' soundtrack. It’s important to remember though that this was never actually conceived as an album to be listened to sans visuals and as a result the tracks are really just a collection of vignettes/ curios. Nevertheless the record’s historical significance does have value and will appeal to soundtrack and library music heads as much as BBC Radiophonic Workshop enthusiasts.
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