TME > Audio > Source Music

Planet of the Spiders: Episode 1 (tx: 04/05/74)

In Fiction: Former U.N.I.T. employee Mike Yates has been sent to a meditation centre in Mortimer until he’s sorry for helping dinosaurs invade London. The monks there seem remarkably good at authentic Tibetan chanting…until Mike discovers they’re only listening to recordings on tape! The cheats!

The Fact: The record was a genuine compilation of traditional Indian music performed by native musicians, recorded by musicologist Deben Bhattacharya for The Living Tradition series. Bhattacharya is still recording and compiling similar soundtracks today: a vast compilation library of international soundscapes and music, recorded on location and in make-shift studios, capturing tribal chants and songs from the lesser documented parts of the world. His work has been used on television and radio for decades, as both source music and incidental music; he has hosted his own radio programmes, looking at the history of music and of the verbal tradition; and his albums provide a valuable resource for language and music scholars.

Llama Chhopa – traditional, recorded by Deben Bhattacharya

Cuts: 1'25" is used in the programme, 16 minutes into the episode (although only 1'22" was cleared), heard initially from behind a closed door and then from inside the room. The chanting is seen coming from a reel-to-reel tape player. The recording was never released on such a format, but it is not unreasonable to believe that the monks had made a copy of the record (strictly for personal use only, of course) and set it up to loop continuously for the purposes of their meditations...

Releases: ‘The Living Tradition – Music from the Himalayas’ (Argo ZFB 40) LP, released in 1967. The record appears to be quite rare, and car boot sales might not be the best place to look; we have heard of several university libraries stocking it for reference purposes, however.

Availability: appears to have been unavailable since the original LP was discontinued. The music was released intact on VHS in 1991 (BBCV 4491)