Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos on 14 November 1939) is an American composer and electronic musician. Carlos first came to notice in the late 1960s with recordings made on the Moog synthesizer, then a relatively new and unknown instrument; most notable were LPs of synthesized Bach and the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange. Several years prior, two Carlos compositions using classical (pre-Moog) electronic techniques had been issued on LP (Variations for Flute and Tape and Dialogues for Piano and Two Loudspeakers). Although the first Carlos Moog albums were interpretations of the works of classical composers, she later resumed releasing original compositions.
Carlos' first release was entitled "Moog 900 Series - Electronic Music Systems" (R. A. Moog Company, Inc., 1967) and it was an introduction to the technical aspects of the machine.
Switched-On Bach (1968) was an early album demonstrating the use of the synthesizer as a genuine musical instrument. As an early user of Robert Moog's first commercially available synthesizer modules (Moog assembled these as custom installations that differed greatly from user to user), Walter Carlos helped pioneer the technology, which was significantly more difficult to use than it is today. Multitrack recording techniques played a critical role in the time-consuming process of creating this album. Switched-On Bach was the last project in his four-year-long collaboration with Benjamin Folkman and won gold records for both Carlos and Folkman. The album then became one of the first classical LPs to sell 500,000 copies, and (eventually) to go platinum.
A sequel of additional synthesized baroque music, The Well-Tempered Synthesizer, followed in 1969. (Its title is a play on Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.) A second sequel, Switched-On Bach II, was released in 1973, continuing the style of the previous two albums, adding a Yamaha Electone organ to the Moog for certain florid passages in Bach's 5th Brandenburg Concerto).
Sonic Seasonings (1972) was packaged as a double album, with one side dedicated to each of the four seasons, and each side consisting of one long track. The album blended recorded sounds with synthesized sounds, occasionally employing melodies, to create an ambient effect. Not as popular as some other Carlos albums, it was influential on other artists who went on to create the ambient genre. In 1971, Carlos composed and recorded music for A Clockwork Orange. Portions of her work for this film in addition to its classical material re-appeared in her Tales of Heaven and Hell in 2003 in movement 3 A Clockwork Black. She worked with Stanley Kubrick again on the score for The Shining, though in the end Kubrick mostly used pre-existing music cues by other composers.
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