Last Friday night BBC4 showed Synth Britannia
"Documentary following a generation of post-punk musicians who took the synthesiser from the experimental fringes to the centre of the pop stage.
In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Voltaire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard and dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain.
The crossover moment came in 1979 when Gary Numan's appearance on Top of the Pops with Tubeway Army's Are Friends Electric heralded the arrival of synthpop. Four lads from Basildon known as Depeche Mode would come to own the new sound whilst post-punk bands like Ultravox, Soft Cell, OMD and Yazoo took the synth out of the pages of the NME and onto the front page of Smash Hits.
By 1983, acts like Pet Shop Boys and New Order were showing that the future of electronic music would lie in dance music.
Contributors include Philip Oakey, Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, Bernard Sumner, Gary Numan and Neil Tennant."
[available on the iPlayer for 5 more days.]
I particularly enjoyed the footage of Walter-now-Wendy Carlos with a Moog modular system towering over him, and Daniel Miller in his analogue-nest showing off Kraftwerk's original Autobahn vocoder *drooooool*
ADDITIONAL VIEWING: Synth Britannia at The BBC
TIP: don't watch either of them with a pair of Synth-nerds like Verity and I, we'll only sit there going "That's not a MiniKorg 700s, it's a MiniKorg 700", and wondering why they didn't choose some better Roxy Music footage with more Eno synth-action.