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Customer Review

on 13 June 2008
Overall this has very little music, but it's a fascinating listening experience nonetheless. You might have to skip past the theme tune, because you've heard it before, and it's on the record three times (four if you count the end theme). The rest is a mixture of unsettling ambient drones, disturbing space atmospheres, and cold, dispiriting pings and whooshes.

My favourite track is "Cybermats attracted to Wheel". It's a boing noise that repeats a few times, but it's a lovely boing noise, and I love the way it repeats. The selection from The Wheel in Space, which makes up tracks 37 - 51, is like a miniature early Tangerine Dream record, or a more peaceful Stockhausen. It is my favourite part of the album. "Floating Through Space" is sinister, "Interior Rocket (Suspense Music)" is menacing, and "Jarvis in a Dream State" is perturbing. Listening to the music without watching the show, I am left with a mental impression of avant-garde experimental black and white horror cinema. I have a mental impression of some very clever people in a stark, abandoned school hall, carefully preparing tapes and oscilloscopes. It's all very reminiscent of Gil Mellé's music from The Andromeda Strain.

I say "music", but this album often blurs the boundaries between noise and music, and indeed many of the tracks were commissioned as background atmospheres. Several of the consist of a single albeit often complicated effect, e.g. the various noises that accompany functions of the Tardis, whereas "Galaxy Atmosphere" is an evolving noise layered on top of itself. Other highlights of the record include "Machine and City Theme", which has an ominous, grinding feel; the peaceful, ambient "Musak", which should have been released as a single; and "White Void", which is cold, so cold, like the universe itself. Track 29, "Chromophone Band", is a relatively conventional tune with a melody and a beat. It sounds like the work of Joe Meek. It was written by Dudley Simpson, and arranged in typically inventive style by Delia Derbyshire. The "Chumbley" tracks are cute, and it's a shame that Chumbley has to die (with an electronic death gasp!).

As the title of the record states, this music was made between 1963 and 1969. It sounds timeless, as if from another universe where time does not exist.

It's worth looking on Google for Mark Ayres' website; he compiled the record, and on his website he writes about the tracks, telling us that e.g. "Cyber Invasion" was originally eight minutes long (it is a whooshing noise, the audio equivalent of a barber's pole, and it would be horrible to listen to for eight minutes).
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