Throughout his extraordinary career, the late George Martin produced everything from comedy records to musical cast recordings, leaving his mark in every genre. His versatility, of course, found full flower in his collaborations with The Beatles. Now, a fascinating early project of the producer-composer-arranger-executive is coming to light in a special, limited edition release. In early 1962, Martin teamed with Maddalena Fagandini of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to record a pair of electronic instrumental tracks, “Time Beat” and “Waltz in Orbit.” The single was released on the Parlophone label in April 1962 – mere weeks before Martin first met the Beatles – under the space-age moniker of “Ray Cathode” (cathode rays are streams of electrons observed in discharge tubes). Now, George Martin Music is reissuing both of these groundbreaking instrumentals to benefit dublab’s nonprofit community radio programming and mission.
Pre-orders are open now for a 12-inch vinyl EP – limited to just 100 copies – due for release on May 1. “Time Beat” and “Waltz in Orbit” have been remastered by Craig Leon and will feature on the EP alongside contemporary remixes by Sparkle Division and Drum & Lace. The EP will be cut at Finyl Tweek and pressed at The Vinyl Factory. dublab is selling the EP in two formats:
- Preorder on dublab.com (EPs 11-100)
- Premium preorder on dublab.com (EPs hand-numbered 1-10)
George Martin’s teaming with Maddalena Fagandini was a fortuitous one. His homebase of EMI Recording Studios on Abbey Road wasn’t far from the BBC’s sound effects unit, the Radiophonic Workshop. Naturally, the sounds being created by hand at the Workshop intrigued the ever-experimenting Martin. He and Fagandini came up with a plan: for one track, he would provide the melody to her electronically-created rhythm, and for the second, they would trade places. “Time Beat” b/w “Waltz in Orbit” was the first commercial release from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. While Martin would go on to make music history with The Beatles and others, Fagandini would remain at the Workshop until 1966 when she transitioned to a career as a TV producer and director
George Martin always maintained that it was his early career experimentation, including Ray Cathode, that helped him in his work as The Beatles’ producer to meet the band’s constant need for new sounds and effects. Maddalena Fagandini continued creating electronic music and sounds, including jingles and interval signals, at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop until 1966, when she moved into her successful career as a television producer and director, specializing in the field of language teaching. The modern-day remixers have built upon the spirit of Martin and Fagandini’s original recordings and their pioneering use of synthesizers.
The EP, strictly limited to 100 units to benefit dublab’s community radio endeavors, is available for pre-order now from dublab at the links below! It will ship on or around May 1.
Ray Cathode, Time Beat b/w Waltz in Orbit (original tracks released on Parlophone 45-R 4091, 1962 – reissued 2021)