Ray Cathode: the unheard electronic project of Beatles producer George Martin

Before meeting the Fab Four from Liverpool, George Martin made a couple of electronic tracks under the alias Ray Cathode. Let’s check them out.

Legendary for his work with The BeatlesMartin also worked through the ’70s with artists like America and Jeff Beck. In 1962, two months before teaming up with the lads from Liverpool, George Martin dropped two electronic tracks on Parlophone, a part of the EMI record label. Teaming up with fellow electronic musician and English TV producer Maddalena Fagandini, under the name Ray Cathode.

Fagandini was a member of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, a sound effects unit tasked with creating new sounds and music for radio and TV. This branch was responsible for theme songs like Doctor Who, and Quartermaster, and The Pit. Martin’s love for experimenting in the studio is a well-documented topic, across his extensive career. This remastered insight into his earlier career is a gentle nod to the famed producer, composer, and arranger’s talent.

George Martin

The first track on this dynamic duo of arrangements and experimental sounds is titled Time Beat. Martin providing the melody on this track, while Fagandini provided the electronically created rhythm. Something of a child-like, playschool type of Spaghetti-Western theme song ensues in the piece. It’s a wild ride.

The second titled Waltz in Orbit sounds like the estranged second cousin of Dave Brubeck’s Take 5 from Latin America. Featuring some interesting detuned synth work on top of a samba beat intertwined with various percussion, piano, and picked guitar sounds.

Due to be released in May, head to Duolabs website for more info on Ray Cathode and purchase details.