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I love Wendy Carlos. Rocky Mountains, baby. But I'm only familiar with her scores for motion pictures. This whole post has been enlightening. Thank you.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 7, 2008 2:18 PM

These are some of my favorite records of all time. They really capture a whole "familar yet unsettling" thing that I love so so so much. Oddly enough my first exposure to her was a tape of "Peter and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals" that she did with...wait for it...Weird Al.

My favorite "Switched On" LP is actually NOT by Wendy Carlos but is "Switched On Gershwin" by Gershon Kingsley. That one in particular is delightfully bizzare.

Posted by Eli | May 7, 2008 2:23 PM

i'm not sure what i think about 'switched on bach' because, truth be told, classical music is not my thing and other artists were making much weirder (and in my mind, better) sounds with moogs during the same period. the soundtrack to 'tron' is ill.

my personal favorite 'switched on...' is the horrible idea, yet somehow good 'switched on bacharach' by christopher scott (what a horrible play on names, right?). scott's version of 'walk on by' is my second favorite (the best, of course, by isaac hayes) and the rest of the album has some extremely cheesy low points, but is still much better than similar cash-in albums from that time period.

and you can't fuck with the cover:

Posted by cosby | May 7, 2008 2:42 PM

Wendy Carlos is like having chocolate in your peanut butter (well, if you love Couperin AND Suicide equally). Love. Her.

Posted by bronkitis | May 7, 2008 6:06 PM

What a magnificent post!

Composers today who use sampled orchestra instruments - or any kind of keyboard triggered sound - can learn much from her deft and detailed use of note articulation (attack, decay, vibrato, etc.). Carlos makes the notes breathe with microscopic variations that make almost every single note she plays sound unique.

As a composer, Carlos merits investigation, having progressed from the run-of-the-mill "Dialogues for Piano and Two Loudspeakers" to the exquisite stuff in A Clockwork Orange, Sonic Seasonings, and so on.

Also, Carlos' reissues on East Side Digital trump (and in some cases repair) the older vinyl versions. Avoid the old LPs.

Oh, and Carlos' site teems with archival details, photos, and anecdotes.

Posted by Christopher DeLaurenti | May 7, 2008 9:26 PM

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