Ray Cathode (aka George Martin)

Category: By the bug

George Martin began his career working at the BBC Music Library after which he landed a job at Parlaphone, EMI's "junk label" that released novelty records, soundtracks and light-pop orchestra material. After spending a few years recording classical music he went on to produce lots of comedy projects working with Peter Sellers & Spike Milligan (the Goons) and Peter Ustinov.

In early 1962, Martin and Maddalena Fagandini recorded the first single released by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop under the pseudonym "Ray Cathode". "Time Beat" was the A side of the 7" and was a re-working of one of Fagandini's interval signals. It's a decent track but is trumped by the B Side, "Waltz in Orbit" which was summed up nicely by Jonny Trunk (of the brilliant Trunk Records) thusly:

"This is a BBC Radiophonic Workshop thing, pressed on Columbia. You will definitely see this dinky little cheap single about and it seems like a bit of a lost gem to me. It's early (1962) but hugely progressive, with like a fat and catchy electronic waah-waah thing going off at the same time as a waltz. Only available on a single this sounds great very loud, most intense and thoroughly satisfying. I can liken it to being pissed in a microwave oven. So well done the workshop."

A few months after this single was released Martin would audition the Beatles and it took roughly three years before he got to fool around with electronics in the studio again. Some people claim that Martin played this single to Paul McCartney in 1965 and was an influence on Revolver's sound.

time beat / waltz in orbit


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