BBC Documentary: “Synth Britannia”

Brilliant documentary that tells the story of the evolution of electronic Pop in Britain.

Part One: “Alienated Synthesists”
Focusing on the development of British synth music throughout the 1970s, from the wide exposure that synthesizers gained from their use in prog rock and the groundbreaking Clockwork Orange soundtrack, through the development of affordable synth keyboards and subsequent emergence of the first post-punk and industrial synth bands made up of working-class youths influenced by krautrock and punk music and dystopian science fiction literature by such authors as J.G. Ballard, to the formation of Mute Records and breakthrough success of synthpop towards the end of the decade, specifically “Are Friends Electric?” and “Cars” in 1979.

Spotlighting: Walter Carlos, Kraftwerk, The Normal, The Human League, Giorgio Moroder, Cabaret Voltaire, OMD, Joy Division, Ultravox, Throbbing Gristle and Gary Numan.

Part Two: “Construction Time Again”
Focusing on the commodification of synthpop in the early 1980s, from the focal shift away from experimental post-punk towards the mainstream pop market, through the new-found popularity of previously unsuccessful bands and emergence of newly formed pop duos that juxtaposed cold synth instruments with warm soulful vocals, to the development of samplers such as the Mellotron and the E-mu Emulator, culminating in the birth of electronic dance music, specifically beginning with “Blue Monday” in 1983.

Spotlighting Depeche Mode, The Human League, Heaven 17, Cabaret Voltaire, Soft Cell, Yazoo, OMD, Eurythmics, Ultravox, Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys and New Order.

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