Beauty in the Beast Enhanced, Original recording reissued
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Audio CD, Enhanced, Original recording reissued, November 4, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
However, Carlos composes music in the different tunings that shifts and adjusts its keys as modern western music does -- thus producing terrible clashes with the un-tempered scales. Traditional non-tempered music just doesn't shift keys this widely, for that very reason. So, it's a great experiment, but there are moments that aren't true to the intrinsic nature of non-tempered music.
FYI here's a quick lesson on tempered music: To move a note up an octave, double the frequency of the sound. To move a note up a fifth, multiply the frequency of the sound by 1.5 (one and a half.) Now, if you move up 12 fifths -- which should be equal to 7 octaves -- the math doesn't work out! You don't end up on quite the same note since (2)**7 = 128 but (1.5)**12 = 129.7!!! A sequence of fifths ends up a tiny, tiny bit sharp compared to a sequence of octaves, about 1% "off"!!! So, to make both these sequences jibe, one flattens the notes evenly such that fifths are just a hair flat. The result doesn't sound as natural, but it makes every scale "well-tempered".Read more ›
I think we got a hint at it in the piece "Timesteps" from the Clockwork Orange soundtrack, and on this 1986 release / 2001 re-release that identity is fully realized. On the surface, at first listening, much of it sounds like world music: Tibetan Incantations, Balinese Gamelan ceremonies, African tribal dances, drifting in and out in a sort of auditory slide show. Yet as she explains in the collection's liner notes, these world images were used as more of a treatment, a way to encapsulate and focus tunings and textures she had just started to work with in her own abstract, intuitive approach to composing. The result is a kaleidoscopic journey, a sumptuous feast for the ears, one which challenges us by clashing dissonant cacophony against sheer melodic beauty - hence the title.
It is ironic that, sometimes, purely electronic music sounds best (is more interesting and exciting) when it is made to sound more primitive and organic. Carlos succeeds at this for the most part, with her use of quarter-tones and percussive sounds, as well as the use of an electrified voice on two of the tracks. She has been criticized for sounding too mechanistic on other works; the pieces contained in this collection should lay those complaints to waste.Read more ›
Do yourself a favor and get this CD now. It is indispensable.
There are a variety of musical styles on BitB, ranging from african-sounding percussion to martian jazz. The title cut is just plain haunting.
The supplementary files include an essay on tuning, with audio files as examples. I found these to be very informative, particularly regarding the alpha and beta scales used in the title cut.
It's weird, but it works.
Most microtonal is too academic to me. I will recommend this great microtonal music to seek out: Ingliashon Jones/City of the Asleep, Prent Rogers, William Sethares.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Walter Carlos is famous in the music community for several reasons. He was the first artist to achieve fame using synthesizers. Read morePublished on February 21, 2012 by Spiritual Architect
I bought this for a Christmas gift for my son. He had put it on his wish list and he was very pleased to receive it. The used CD was in very good shape. Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by cdc
Wendy Carlos is both ethnic and inventive. The opener, "Incantation," involves synthetic sounds that resemble the rumbling of Buddhist monks and weird woodwind-like sounds and... Read morePublished on November 21, 2009 by Robert Graden
As a student studying classical voice this recording was a revelation when I purchased it on cassette 22 years ago. Read morePublished on March 16, 2008 by MD
Instinctively attracted to classical music I have been unable to listen to this work without becoming physically ill. Read morePublished on February 26, 2003 by Alex
Nonstandard tunings, masterfully used. Gothic, "Bush of Ghosts" feeling. Great instrument modeling, not trying to sound just like acoustic instruments but using... Read morePublished on September 1, 2001
BitB es una de las mejores obras -sino la mejor- de W.Carlos. Su labor como teórica en los campos del microtonalismo y las afinaciones alternativas es abrumadoramente... Read morePublished on April 19, 2001 by Henzo Alejandro Lafuente Ramos