Synth Britannia

Synth Britannia

October saw the televised debut of BBC Four‘s Synth Britannia, an enthralling and ruminative documentary on the advent of synthesizers in electronic music and their ascent into the pop lexicon of the 1980s. Narrowing its lens upon electronic pioneers such as Wolfgang Flür (Kraftwerk), Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle), and Gary Numan, the 90-minute gem sheds a prismatic light on how Kraftwerk popularized the synthesizer for a generation of post-punk, disaffected dreamers. With appearances by Human League, OMD, Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Soft Cell, Heaven 17, Visage, Yazoo, Cabaret Voltaire, and innumerable others, the dazzling history lesson is as much a refresher course in style as it is in musical ingenuity.

The doc’s official site contains clips as well as a complete track listing of songs contained in the feature, but it might be simplest just to catch the whole thing – in 9 parts – on YouTube.

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