From her groundbreaking first album Switched-On Bach (1968) to the unforgettable soundtracks for A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Shining (1980), and Tron (1982), Wendy Carlos is a living legend of electronic music. In March, Oxford University Press will publish Wendy Carlos: A Biography, written by musicologist Amanda Sewel, musical director of Interlochen Public Radio. From the book description:
With her debut album Switched-On Bach, composer and electronic musician Wendy Carlos (b. 1939) brought the sound of the Moog synthesizer to a generation of listeners, helping to effect arguably one of the most substantial changes in popular music's sound since musicians began using amplifiers. Her story is not only one of a person who blazed new trails in electronic music for decades but is also the story of a person who intersected in many ways with American popular culture, medicine, and social trends during the second half of the 20th century and well into the 21st. There is much to tell about her life and about the ways in which her life reflects many dimensions of American culture.
Carlos's identity as a transgender woman has shaped many aspects of her life, her career, how she relates to the public, and how the public has received her and her music. Cultural factors surrounding the treatment of transgender people affected many of the decisions that Carlos has made over the decades. Additionally, cultural reception and perception of transgender people has colored how journalists, scholars, and fans have written about Carlos and her music for decades.
Wendy Carlos: A Biography (Amazon)
In 1981, The Go-Go’s blew up with “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Our Sealed,” two tracks from their IRS records debut Beauty and the Beat that hit number one on the Billboard charts and went double platinum. What many don’t realize though is that the band, who notably wrote and played all their […]
Chiptune musician @atarimae_400 learned that the jingles played at some Japanese railway stations sound similar to the tones generated by a certain model of pocket calculator. So @atarimae_400 performed some of the melodies on his own adding machines. As Kraftwerk sang, “I’m the operator with my pocket calculator.”
In 1985, Swiss synthpop duo Yello’s quirky dance track “Oh Yeah” became ubiquitous on US radio after being used in the classic high school film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Above, Great Big Story shares the story of Oh Yeah straight from the mouths of the musicians, Boris Blank and Dieter Meier. Hear the whole track […]
What’s your biggest gripe about power strips? Since most power servers like that are pretty standard these days, your beef probably isn’t about performance or connectivity. No, the biggest rap on trying to use many power strips is the curious engineering decision that often leaves multiple oddly shaped plugs and charging units unable to all […]
Between work, family obligations, and just getting to bed at a decent hour, we all have a lot on our plates these days. So, it’s easy for things like grooming and skincare to never be a high-priority issue. That is until they become a high priority issue. Like when your face constantly breaks out. Or […]
Today’s teachers extol the virtues of hands-on learning, the method of helping students, particularly the youngest children, learn through basic doing. From trial-and-error methods to practice honing their emerging skills, youngsters can soak up a world of learning opportunities when their developing minds are unleashed. While the thought of dropping a smartphone or tablet into […]