Founded in London in 2009, Public Service Broadcasting looks like a contemporary rock band, with guitar (J. Willgoose, Esq.) drums (Wrigglesworth), and keyboard (JFAbraham). But the fourth member, on visuals and video design (Mr B), and the way their songs incorporate vintage audio samples, makes them something quite unique. Their founding credo, “teaching the lessons of the past through the music of the future”, finds some similarities with the BBC’s own: “Inform, educate, entertain”.

Having already delighted the BBC Proms with a stirring evocation of the Cold War in 2019 with The Race For Space, the BBC commissioned PBS to create a brand new live album, to celebrate one hundred years of the BBC.

Willgoose’s eight melancholy soundscapes trace the advent of the radio (“Ripples in the Ether”) to lamenting the BBC’s defunding (“What of the Future?”), all amazingly orchestrated by JFAbraham, with Jules Buckley conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In the final piece, members of the orchestra slowly stop playing the wistful, elegaic music, section by section, eventually leaving an empty stage: a theatrical stunt that says more than words ever could.

As a band, drummer Wrigglesworth really stands out for his simplicity and lightness of touch combined with mathematically flawless beats, even against busy, twinkling orchestration and visuals. The Prom might only have been helped by simply playing the album straight through and not pausing for chat: the combination of archive audio and visuals, with live music and stagecraft, speaks for itself.

Tickets for all 72 Proms are available from just £7.12 on the BBC Proms 2022 website.

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