Apr 20, 2008

Sundaze (28)

Hello, Sundaze today is all about Wendy Carlos , she became known to the world as Walter after releasing Switched-On Bach a sensational effort at the time to transcode Bach''s music with moog synthesisers, it brought her much acclaim and Grammys, in 71 she made another splash when doing the soundtrack for Clockwork Orange. When she started on Sonic Seasonings , Vivaldi's Four Seasons may have been on the back of her mind, but something completely different came out. In her liner notes for the 1998 Compact Disc reissue, Carlos explained that the music "was intended to work on a timbral and experiential level", as part of "a third, viable alternative to acoustic and musical environmental presentations. Well its an amazing album and totally unique at the time therefore hard to recognise for the masterpiece it was . This kind of ambience was unheard off as the new age of meditation had yet to start...

Carlos was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Carlos's musical education began when she started playing the piano at the age of six. Her formal education included Brown University where she studied music and physics, and Columbia University where she earned a MA in music. At Columbia, Carlos was a student of Vladimir Ussachevsky, a pioneer in electronic music. Following her graduation, she moved to Manhattan, where she found work as a recording engineer. In Manhattan, she met Dr. Robert Moog and, not long afterward, she began playing the Moog synthesizer, providing feedback for his further development of the Moog synthesizer. Around 1966, Carlos met Rachel Elkind who produced her early albums. Carlos has lived in New York since 1962.

Her first six recordings were released under the name Walter Carlos. In 1967, Carlos underwent sex reassignment surgery. The last release to be credited to her as Walter Carlos was By Request (1975). The first release credited to her as Wendy Carlos was Switched-On Brandenburgs (1979). Carlos's first public appearance after her gender transition was in an interview in the May 1979 issue of Playboy magazine, a decision she would come to regret because of the unwelcome publicity it brought to her personal life.

Switched-On Bach (1968) was perhaps the first album to demonstrate the use of synthesizers as a genuine musical instrument. As an early user of Robert Moog's first commercially available synthesizer, 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 became the first classical album to sell 500,000 copies, and (eventually) to go platinum. It also earned three Grammy Awards. A similar effort, The Well-Tempered Synthesizer, followed in 1969. In 1971, Carlos wrote the music for Stanley Kubrick's controversial film A Clockwork Orange, introducing the vocoder -- an electronic device designed to synthesize the human voice -- in her score .1972's Sonic Seasonings pushed the envelope further. This was packaged as a double album, with one side dedicated to each of the four seasons, and each side consisting of one long track. It blended recorded sounds with synthesized sounds, without melodies, to create an ambient effect. It was very influential on other artists who went on to create the ambient genre.

In 1982, she scored the theatrical film Tron for Disney. This score incorporated orchestra, chorus, organ, and both analog and digital synthesizers. Some of her end title music was replaced with a song by the rock group, Journey, and the music that originally was composed for the lightcycle scene was dropped. On 1984's Digital Moonscapes she switched to digital synthesizers, instead of the analog synthesizers that were the trademark of her earlier albums. Some of the unused material from the Tron soundtrack was incorporated into it.

1986's Beauty In the Beast saw Wendy Carlos experimenting with various alternate tunings, including just intonation, balinese scales and several scales she invented for the album. One of her scales involved setting a "root note", and retuning all of the notes on the keyboard to just intonation intervals. There are a total of 144 possible notes per octave, from 12 notes in a chromatic scale times 12 different home keys. Other scales included Carlos' Alpha & Beta scales, which experimented with dividing the octave into odd numbers of equally-spaced intervals.

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Wendy Carlos - Sonic Seasonings I ( 72, 195min ^ 279mb )

Originally mastered in quad, in 1972. Digitally remastered down to stereo and released in 1998 along with the last three tracks. Represents the original efforts to combine natural sounds, digital, and acoustic. Decades later this became a genre of its own. Sonic Seasonings is a fantastic masterwork of early ambient, and the remastering job was incredible--no hiss, and great sound quality. It's a collection of soundscapes made of overlayed natural sounds with very subtle and quiet snatches of electronics and melodies throughout--very much in advance of anyone else's ambient work.

The same year Carlos finalized the score for A Clockwork Orange, s-he recorded a double album named Sonic Seasonings; it was a complete turn away from the majestic synthesizer soundscapes and classical inspirations that had marked the movie score. Instead, Carlos recorded large amounts of environmental passages to produce a work that cycled through the four seasons. Beginning with bird calls and a thunderstorm to mark "Spring," Carlos phrases the synthesizers only in terms of the nature sounds heard. They rarely interject themselves, and the result is closer to a nature recording with occasional effects than a synthesizer recording with nature sounds. Of course, there was no precedent for "nature," "environmental," or even "new age" music in 1972 -- Sonic Seasonings was basically the genesis for several entire genres of music two decades later. As part of East Side Digital's Carlos CD reissue campaign, Sonic Seasonings was issued as a two-disc set, including the original LP plus a second disc of "natural" recordings, originally begun in 1986 and known as Land of the Midnight Sun.

Wendy Carlos - Sonic Seasonings I (* 304mb)

01 - Spring (22:24)
02 - Summer (21:40)
03 - Fall (21:06)

Wendy Carlos - Sonic Seasonings II (* 271mb)

04 - Winter (20:40)
05 - Winter (Outtake) (5:21)
06 - Aurora Borealis (19:55)
07 - Midnight Sun (19:57)

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Wendy Carlos - Clockwork Orange Original Score (72 ^ 200mb)

Carlos had already begun work on a composition (Timesteps) based on the book A Clockwork Orange. It's the best piece of music in the score (and one of the most famed in the early history of electronic music), fitting in well next to late-'60s minimalist works by Terry Riley as well as the emerging Tangerine Dream (pre-Phaedra). Carlos also pioneered the effect of synthesized vocals (known as a vocoder), and their eerie nature perfectly complemented scenes from the film. Much of the rest of A Clockwork Orange is filled with rather cloying synthesizer versions of familiar classical pieces (from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, Rossini's The Thieving Magpie) similar to Carlos' previous Switched-On Bach recordings. Still, it's worthwhile if only for Timesteps. A Clockwork Orange was originally released as a Warner Bros. soundtrack, containing only film cuts (which edited Timesteps down from 13 minutes to only four). Though Carlos released another version with more music, that issue was superseded in 1998 by the release of A Clockwork Orange: Complete Original Score

01 - Timesteps (13:50)
02 - March From A Clockwork Orange (7:00)
03 - Title Music From A Clockwork Orange (2:21)
04 - La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) (5:50)
05 - Theme From A Clockwork Orange (Beethoviana) (1:44)
06 - Ninth Symphony: Second Movement (Scherzo) (4:52)
07 - William Tell Overture (1:17)
08 - Orange Minuet (2:35)
09 - Biblical Daydreams (2:06)
10 - Country Lane (4:43)

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All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !


tom7865 said...

Wendy Carlos - beauty in the beast- wonderful alternate tuning music-



Anonymous said...

such a great surprise to find the sonic seasoning-i've got the original but didnt realise there was an extended version, let alone a live one!


Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, the oft-repeated 1967 surgery date is wrong. According to Wendy's 1979 Playboy interview, she did not have the surgery until 1972, several years into her recording career.

Anonymous said...

Much thanks for the "Beauty in the Beast" link and posting. It's a work I'd forgotten about, but always enjoyed.

- Moonbear

Anonymous said...

Hey muchas TNKX ... amigos....

buy viagra said...

I have in my Ipod these songs:Theme From A Clockwork Orange,Ninth Symphony: Second Movement ,and Midnight Sun, so I think that those are the most excited songs on the world.

santino said...

Hi Rho would appreciate a re-up of Wendy Carlos if possible--thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

Any chance we could have these re-upped please?

Anonymous said...

Great. Cheers! Please, note you reupped this on your RhoDeo 1929 Re-Ups 197 as 3x US Aetix, instead of 3x Sundaze.