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Sonic Seasonings + [Enhanced CD] [Enhanced, Original recording reissued]

Wendy Carlos Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 11, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording reissued
  • Label: East Side Digital
  • ASIN: B00000DGXY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,331 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Spring
2. Summer
3. Fall
Disc: 2
1. Winter
2. Winter (Out-take)
3. Aurora Borealis
4. Midnight Sun

Editorial Reviews

Before there was ambient music, in a time before the New Age, there was Wendy Carlos's Sonic Seasonings, a double LP released in 1972. Taking the form of Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Carlos orchestrated four side-long soundscapes designed, according to producer Rachel Elkind, to be "part of the decor." Using only her Moog synthesizer and environmental sounds, Carlos created prototypical ambient music, predating Brian Eno's similar work by a few years. Carlos weaves gentle, often reedy synthesizer melodies through chirping birds on "Spring," phase-shifted church organ drones across crystalline bells and wind on "Winter," and she seems to simulate an alien space landing on "Summer," mimicking nature with her synthesizer. An added treat on this special double CD is a 40-minute, unreleased, two-part suite from 1986 called "Land of the Midnight Sun." Using her Synergy synthesizers, Carlos orchestrates slow-motion melodies and overlapping minimalist layers that recall Steve Roach's "Structures from Silence." Sonic Seasonings is the first wave of a batch of Wendy Carlos reissues. While many of Carlos's classical, "Switched-On" orchestrations have an antique, dated charm, this original composition sounds fresh and current. In attempting a music that wouldn't draw attention to itself, Carlos achieved a prescient work of subtlety and depth on Sonic Seasonings. --John Diliberto

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wonderful Worlds of Wendy Carlos June 10, 2004
By Joe
Format:Audio CD
'Sonic Seasongings' is definitely one of my desert island picks. Having been a fan of Wendy Carlos from her soundtracks to 'Tron' and 'A Clockwork Orange,' I came across this 2CD set almost accidentally while doing a search for ambient music on Amazon. When I discovered that Wendy actually released a 1972 album that nowadays is classified as ambient, I was very intrigued and purchased the set without hesitation. Little did I know what I was in for when the music met my ears for the first time!
'Sonic Seasonings' is a tranquil yet lively album that gives new meaning to the term background music. Wendy creates portholes to worlds that are familiar but also odd. If you like Brian Eno, Steve Roach or Harold Budd -- you will be in heaven when you hear these tracks! I often play them quietly at work and it's not unusual for someone to ask me "WHAT'S THAT," with raised eyebrows when they hear the swirling sounds during "Summer," or the wolves of "Winter" coming from nowhere and everywhere all at once.
In addition, the two 1986 bonus tracks that make up 'Land of the Midnight Sun' are just as essential, and they compliment the "seasonal tracks" quite well.
Highly recommended for any Wendy Carlos fan, those who appreciate ambient music, or anyone in need of a listening experience that will take you away from the doldrums of reality!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Audio Journey January 22, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I first discovered this wonderful album as a two disk vinyl set checked out from the public library. Synthesizers were my high school fascination and I'd already discovered Tomita's "Pictures at an Exhibition" & Wendy's (then Walter Carlos') "Switched on Bach". But this... there was nothing like this, nothing I could even compare it to. Each side of the two albums was a season (Sonic Seasonings), winter, spring, summer, fall; Each a unique tapestry of sound exploration, like a sound track for your imagination. Summer is one of my favorites, the sounds of frogs and crickets flowing by creates the mental image of flying low over a planet of ponds and swamps. Wendy was so far ahead of her time with this spectacular album that there weren't even terms for it yet. I wore out the library's copy and eventually the copy I bought. I was overjoyed to discover it was finally available on CD, in the digital format it was meant to be heard in. The new "bonus" tracks compliment the original work... the sound of a rocking chair and a cat purring in your lap! If you like music that broadens your mind, you'll love this masterpiece of sonic wizardry.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More a Sonic Experience than Music January 19, 2004
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Since Wendy Carlos was always in pursuit of the perfect sound, the flawless recording, digital technology facilitates her quest for perfection. These are her times, and SONIC SEASONINGS definitely benefits from them. Until buying this 2-CD set (a bonus-enhanced digital facsimile to the original 2-album set), I hadn't heard these recordings in over 25 years, and I've thought about them a lot in the interim. As it turned out, the digital upgrade is very satisfying, as the clarity enhances the original artistic objective: the aural verisimilitude of a reminisced landscape; and where once the pops and clicks accumulating on your vinyl copy had disrupted the suspension of disbelief, we now have perfect space.

There's not much to say that hasn't been said by other reviewers. If you're an old Carlos fan, you already know that SONIC SEASONINGS was as groundbreaking as her SWITCHED ON BACH recordings. You also know that, unlike a lot of pioneers of electronic music, Carlos, with meticulous devotion, delivered fully realized compositions, not half-baked experiments presented as novelties of sound. You also know she's a genius of unsurpassed originality. SONIC SEASONINGS stands the test of time, as do all of her original compositions; if you liked the vinyl edition of SONIC SEASONINGS back in the day, you'll like it now. This recording still amazes me, how so vividly it captures the FEEL of the seasons, a new-era equivalent of Vivaldi's FOUR SEASONS, a comparison I'm sure she intended in the conceptualization of the project.

If you're a fan of ambient music, this is a must-have CD. Of course, you Carlos fans already know what it's all about, so if you haven't upgraded to the CD edition, you need to correct the error as soon as possible.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, relaxing CD January 25, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Normally, I'm not one for relaxing music. I don't buy a lot of New Age or soft, tinkly things. But this album--wow. I loved it years ago when I had the double album, and when Wendy Carlos remastered it for CD I bought it immediately. It lives on my iPod now, and whenever I'm having trouble relaxing at night or taking a nap, I listen to it. This isn't active music--it's phenomenally recorded spring-summer-fall-winter soundscapes with electronic sounds and music quietly interspersed. Much of the time the natural sound is louder than the electronic additions--which makes this a very unusual example of the genre.
I've tried to find other music like this album, but I've never heard anything so well composed and recorded. The sense of space is incredible, and the compositions are really very nice. The fact that it puts me to sleep shouldn't stop you from buying the album--in fact, I've listened to it when not intending to sleep, and enjoyed the experience just as much.
The extra tracks aren't very interesting to me, and I don't listen to them. But the original recording sounds like it could have been made yesterday--the sound quality is truly amazing considering its age.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The howling of the wolves on the Winter track...... the best track I have ever found that will raise the hair on the back of your head every time you hear it. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Villagerjjm
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent A++++
Got this on vinyl my first year of college when Wendy was Walter Carlos. Have been looking for it on CD for a few years and glad I got it. Thank you!
Published 12 months ago by kerry l.
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 years ahead of its time
Walter Carlos had become Wendy Carlos by the time this came out in the 70's. Carlos is the godfather/mother of New Age, electronic music and to me, this was the best from this... Read more
Published 16 months ago by James Hawk
5.0 out of 5 stars You will be stunned by this album
A sonic masterpiece of the moods and sounds of the four seasons performed entirely on the Synergy synthesizer. Read more
Published on November 23, 2011 by Jim Br
Sonic Seasonning is for me a fantstic experience, I was a teenage when I bought the soundtrack from "TRON" eventually, my music dealer said he have a 2lp from Wendy Carlos called... Read more
Published on October 14, 2010 by Gross Gheist
5.0 out of 5 stars treasure found
this is a delightful reissue. it flirts with the likes of tomita's "snowflakes are dancing" as well as the mood and spirit of ambient works of all kind including that of brian eno. Read more
Published on April 18, 2010 by Steven Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous sounds, generous use of the medium
I hate to try to pin labels on a collection this unique. This album is more organic and visceral than most electronica, more intriguing, imaginative and vivid than most ambient. Read more
Published on March 3, 2010 by C. Bryant
5.0 out of 5 stars Season For Sonics
When I first purchased "Sonic Seasonings" on a two LP set in the dimmed past, I knew the composer from the "A Clockwork Orange" original soundtrack. Read more
Published on May 19, 2009 by B. A. Dilger
5.0 out of 5 stars The invention of new age music.
If you do not know from where and when the title and sytle of "New Age" music comes, you must buy this albun and listen carefully. Read more
Published on December 6, 2008 by Jose Claudio Barbedo
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless
First heard this recording in the early 1970s as a young man. Loved it then and was so fortunate to discover this again so many years later.. Read more
Published on April 8, 2008 by S. Samdahl
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