Unless you were a hobbyist perusing magazines such as Practical Electronics and Amateur Tape Recording in the 60s, chances are FC Judd won’t be a familiar name. A pioneer of British electronic music, Judd was a composer, inventor, author and champion of the cause.
He spent over a decade, from the late 50s, writing about electronic music in scores of articles and two books, and toured the country giving demonstrations and lectures. Generally working outside of the music establishment, Judd never really got his dues, and has been all but forgotten since his death in 1992. Until now, that is, and this excellent collection of his rarely-heard and strikingly good music.
Judd’s biggest commercial success came in 1963 with the puppet sci-fi Space Patrol, the first British TV series to feature an all-electronic score. That same year, Judd formed the Castle imprint to supply sound effects and music to amateur cine filmmakers and home tape recordists. On this and a number of other similar labels, Judd released a series of 7”s, sold through mail order. It’s this music, much of it later issued on the 1970 Studio G library album Electronic Age, that forms the backbone of Electronics Without Tears.
The album divides into two broad categories: freeform, eerie atmospherics such as Molecules In Space, and more structured electro-pop that bears some resemblance to Kid Baltan and Tom Dissevelt. All self-generated from a home studio in Woodford, north east London, it is uniformly excellent. Add in the informative sleevenotes from compiler Ian Helliwell and didactic recorded interjections from Judd himself, and you have the best reissue of early electronic music since the 2007 release of Daphne Oram’s Oramics.