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Wendy Carlos (1939 - )

Related: electronic music - American music - gender - Moog


Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos, November 14, 1939) American composer and electronic musician. Carlos was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Wendy Carlos was one of the first famous performers of electronic music using synthesisers. Her first recordings were released under her birth name of Walter Carlos - she being a transsexual woman, she changed her name to Wendy Carlos.

She underwent a sex-change operation in 1972. Walter's last credited release is "Sonic Seasonings" (1972). Wendy's first credited release is the "Tron" soundtrack (1982), which was released on CD in 2002.

Notable works by Walter Carlos / Wendy Carlos:

  • Switched-on Bach (1968)
  • The Well-Tempered Synthesizer
  • Switched-on Bach II
  • Switched-on Brandenburgs
  • A Clockwork Orange (soundtrack)
  • Disney's TRON (soundtrack)
  • Tales of Heaven and Hell
  • Switched-on Bach 2000 (2000)


    A Clockwork Orange: Wendy Carlos's Complete Original Score (1971) - Wendy Carlos

    1. A Clockwork Orange: Wendy Carlos's Complete Original Score (1971) - Wendy Carlos [Amazon.com]
      One of the most satisfying soundtrack "companion" pieces ever released, this collaboration between synthesist Wendy Carlos and producer Rachel Elkind manages to both logically extend and credibly expand on director Stanley Kubrick's masterfully conceived Clockwork Orange musical ethos. That shouldn't be surprising, as the pair was largely responsible for initiating those concepts with the music they'd begun as a follow-up to their successful, synthesizer-pioneering Switched on Bach collection. "Timesteps," a rich, wildly evocative, 13+ minute electronic sound and music collage, was based on impressions gleaned from Anthony Burgess's original novel (excerpts of it are liberally scattered throughout the film), while an abridged version of the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was an early experiment in vocal synthesis that ended up as one of the film's key motifs. Also featured here are synthesized versions of music Kubrick ultimately chose to use in orchestral form (Rossini's "The Thieving Magpie") as well as original Carlos/Elkind electronic compositions ("Orange Minuet," "Biblical Daydreams," and "Country Lane") that ended up on the cutting-room floor. Composed on primitive, monophonic analog instruments (which could play only one at a time!) long supplanted by generations of digital revolution, this work has a brooding otherworldly quality all its own. As our favorite Droog would say: "It was like a bird of rarest spun metal, or like silvery wine flowing in a space ship, gravity all nonsense now." --Jerry McCulley, Amazon.com

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