As we live and calculate our whole life from a linear perspective, we decided to write a little about the Electroacoustic/electronic music history in a non linear format and jump back and forth in time and place as it pleases us. If you can’t do it physically yet, then we’ll have to try our best to use our imagination. This will be a serie we call ‘Know your EAM’.
First up is Wendy Carlos.
Usually described as an american composer and electronic musician. Born in 1939 she’ll turn 73 this year. Probably most famous for her record Switched-On Bach (1968), where she plays Bach on the Moog synthesizer. It was a huge success and interestingly enough Switched-On Bach was one of the first classical albums to sell 500,000 copies! What’s also special about this record is that it came to demonstrate that the synthesizer could be a genuine musical instrument.
If this is all news to you and still have doubts about this carlos person, you should know the movie A Clockwork Orange released in 1971. When you think about the movie, don’t you instantly hear that weird synthesizer roaming around in your head and you know this can never end in a good way? The record was later released as Timesteps.
Not Until 1986 comes the great sounding album Beauty In The Beast.
Why do we like it so much and why doesn’t it ‘feel’ old?
By experimenting with various tunings, including just intonation, Balinese scales and several scales she invented for the album She creates her own sonic space that’s ancient sounding but very refreshing at the same time. Here you can find her own notes about every song on the record Beauty In TheBeast.
Listening to the record makes us wonder why people still rubs their ears with our boring equal tempered scale? And even more sadly, why don’t musicians, composers and producers of both the analog and digital (synth) play around more with different tuning systems?
So if you lack inspiration one day and don’t have an analog synth in your room, you can still try it out with the preset scales they have in logic , cubase and probably some other programs as well. You really only have to use your ears and play around!
Ofcourse there’s so much more to be said but we’ll stop for now and give you time to look up and listen to the album Beauty In the Beast, which includes good examples of additive synthesis and phase vocoder.