REVIEW: The Krotons Original TV Soundtrack

The Krotons: Original Television Soundtrack
By Brian Hodgson & the Radiophonic Workshop

Available May 13 on CD/Download
Available May 24 on vinyl

Tracklisting HERE.

Review by Daren Thomas Curley

I was surprised to be reviewing The Krotons by Brian Hodgson and the Radiophonic Workshop. Why? Because, I never knew the Workshop had made soundtracks for the show back then... How could I have got it so wrong..? I have been a life long fan of ambient electronic and experimental music, everything from Kraftwerk and John Foxx and the more commercial end of Michel-Jarre, Human League, Numan and Depeche...

So I'm a fan of the Radiophonic Workshop? Quelle surprise I hear you cry. Well, not really. It's connection to the Doctor Who world was unknown to me when I first found their compilations alongside other Eno and 'music concrete' vinyls in the music room at school. Of course, that all changed in 1980, when it supplied the regular soundtracks to the John Nathan Turner era. One of which, the atmospheric, whooshing dream-like soundscapes of Roger Limb's The Caves of Androzani was the first of these 50th year releases from Silva Screen... 

However, one listen of The Krotons led me to exclaim twenty minutes later to Blogtor that I'd felt like I had mild tinnitus... I was right, the Radiophonic Workshop didn't do a soundtrack to The Krotons! Silva have been quick to adjust the artwork from "Soundtrack by..." To "Special Sounds by..." - and that's exactly what it is.

It's full of those odd ambient, mostly repetitive, circular industrial drones which resemble those bizarre hearing tests given to us as small children in the 1970s. I say this not as a criticism, but more a warning. Sure, odd moments of gyrating mechanical electronically noises still do transport the Who fan back in time (in my case to the 1980s Five Faces of Doctor Who repeats with said story as part of the package). But by the end the relentless cacophony does give you some idea of what Zoe, Jamie and the other must have felt like being pulled into mental attack in the Dynotrope (which probably the whole point).

So, it leaves me with a difficult situation. How do you review an LP of background sound FX? How would you have reviewed that sound FX LP of the 70s or the 30 years of the Radiophonic Workshop collection (which also includes one of my favourite FX also found on this CD too of the alternate TARDIS landing sound)? Well I can't, not really.

So, if you have the Androzani soundtrack, be very careful because this isn't the same sort of thing at all. No identifiable musical motifs or themes, this is more a series of industrial, experimental FX sounds. It has odd moments that aren't unlike Delian Mode Radiophonic at its most iconic and identifiable. But unlike other compilations, it offers less variety and may feel a little harsh... However, for pure nostalgia value alone, it's still a worthy and valid piece of Who for the collection.

(Minus several million for my loss of hearing!)

Thanks to Silva Screen