A Compendium Of Early British Electronic Music Composers.
Published 16th June, 2016.
In the form of a richly illustrated compendium, Tape Leaders is an indispensable reference guide for anyone interested in electronic sound and its origins in Great Britain. For the first time a book sets out information on practically everyone active with experimental electronics and tape recording across the country, revealing the hidden history of early British electronic music.
With an individual entry for each composer, starting with Daevid Allen and going through to Peter Zinovieff, it covers everyone from the famous names of William Burroughs, Brian Eno and Joe Meek, to the ultra-obscure Roy Cooper, Donald Henshilwood and Edgar Vetter. There are sections for EMS and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, as well as amateurs, groups and ensembles that seriously experimented with electronics, including the Beatles, Hawkwind and White Noise.
Author Ian Helliwell draws on his experience and knowledge of electronic music, and after six years and dozens of interviews, has
amassed information never before brought to light in this fascinating subject. With a specially compiled 15-track CD of mainly unreleased early British tape and synthesizer works, this is an essential volume for anyone with an interest in the history of electronic music during the 1950s and 60s.
There is also an ebook version with electronic music extracts, to highlight the work of 25 of the featured composers.
220 page Book + 15 track CD - available via Sound On Sound
£29.00 + p&p.
eBook App with embedded audio - coming soon!
For six years Ian has been researching and writing Tape Leaders - a compendium designed as an essential reference guide to British based composers, who created experimental work with electronics and tape. Concentrating on the formative electronic music period during the 1950s and 60s, the aim has been to document every serious composer and as many amateurs as possible, who created an experimental tape piece up to 1970, and thus tell the hidden story of early British electronic music.
Ian's independent research into the history of electronic music started gradually through the 1990s, and in 1998 he put together several electronic pioneers events during the Brighton fringe festival. In 2003 he wrote a letter to Tristram Cary, and the following year he organised Integrated Circuits, at Brighton University, with a small exhibition, screenings, and a performance of Tristram's work. In 2007 Helliwell created super 8 animation sequences, for the What the Future Sounded Like documentary focussing on EMS. A year later he branched out into radio with the Tone Generation series, and at the end of 2009 he began work on Practical Electronica, an unfunded documentary concerning FC Judd and early British tape music.
Tape Leaders news
Ian gave a talk about his research and the book, at the ‘Alternative Histories of Electronic Music’ conference, at the Science Museum, London.
16th April, 2016. ahem2016
Ian gave a talk on early British electronic music and the book, at SynthFest UK, Sheffield.
Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone programme for BBC 6 Music, featured an interview with Ian about Tape Leaders, with extracts from the book's CD.
29th May, 2016. bbc.co.uk/programme
Tape Leaders book launch and film screening combined archive short films with electronic music soundtracks, plus a talk with Ron Geesin, Laurie Scott Baker and Ian Helliwell.
Fabrica, Duke Street, Brighton.
16th June, 2016.
The hardback book is on sale via Sound On Sound; the exact date for the tablet edition is still pending and news will be added as soon as possible. soundonsound.com/shop
At the 2017 SynthFest UK, Ian displayed some of his self-built Hellitronic equipment and signed copies of Tape Leaders. The Octagon, Sheffield, 7th October.
Since the publication of Tape Leaders, new information has come to light, and this has been added into the text and will appear in future reprints.
For the Tempo journal - Volume 71 - Issue 282, October 2017 - published by Cambridge University Press, Ian has written the article Tape Leaders - Excavating Early British Electronic Music.