Switched-On Bach Original recording reissued
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
In all of this, there is no way to get around the fact that the original Switched-On-Bach is the paramount of analog synthesizer performances known to me. I estimate that since a grade school music teacher first played the opening track for us when SOB first came out, and I begged my very reluctant, classically trained, serious-musician parents to buy me the LP, that I have listened to the album almost 2000 times.
I am a classical musician, recording engineer, and hear tons of music daily. I never get tired of J.S. Bach's music, and the amazing performances of Walter/Wendy Carlos do not wear thin. I have a pretty good idea of how Carlos put these tracks together, and why, and over what time period and under what conditions. I know how hard it is to pay Bach's complex music well, and I am very familiar with the huge difficulties in even approximating those performance values on multi-tracked synthesizer without MIDI, computer assistance, or sequencers. I also know that Carlos did this work at home using a very limited home-built multi-track recorder and mixer, on an instrument that was not at all refined, even for an early synth. And yet the music sings, and jumps out of the speakers, and dances and lives.
The work of others is simple organ playing by comparison. Carlos did the impossible, and the results are still marvelous today.
Granted, these performances do not compete with the kinds of things that people can do with synths and computers nowadays. But it certainly was VERY different when it originally came out. It opened whole new vistas that Carlos and others have been exploring ever since. The VERY free rendering of the second movement of the 3rd Brandenburg can still hold its own with some of the latest synth stuff.
The last track ("Initial Experiments") is an added bonus. It consists of Carlos explaining some of the ideas that were originally tried when doing the recording, along with some of those cast-off takes. For the technically inclined, something that's especially interesting is an explanation of "tuned white noise", which is one of the timbres that I could not figure out how to reproduce when I had an electronic music class in college (in the late 70's), and had to fight with a Moog similar to what Carlos used. The instrument was a beast -- getting one sound just right could take hours.
Do you absolutely HAVE to own this recording? Not unless you're a music history professor, or a collector of historic recordings. But it's still just as much fun as it was back then.
plays the black round things they used to call records.) They
had probably fifty records; this is the only one I remember.
I've since looked through the old boxes of records, and there's
quite a variety of stuff: everything from Messiah to Ray
Stevens. I'm told I listened to all of it (until the turntable
broke when I was in elementary school), but this is the album
I never forgot. It is probably the bulk of the reason that
today I like baroque music in general and J.S. Bach in
particular more than any other music.
Played this way, Bach really *moves*. It makes you want to
move, too. You can't get it out of your head, and you don't
want to. Now that I know it's still available I'm getting
the boxed set, but if you only get one album, get this one.
During the 1950's and 1960's, voltage-controlled and computer-generated synthesizers and sequencers were taking the electronic music scene by storm. Carlos's work is no exception. The instrument of Carlos's choosing was an analog synthesizer known as the Moog. The voltage-controlled Moog was invented by a Mister Robert Moog in 1967. Analog synthesizers use analog circuits and analog computer techniques to make sounds electronically. The Moog specifically uses electronic modules that are connected to one another by patch cables. The instrument is smaller, cheaper and much more reliable than vacuum-tube-based systems, which were popular before the invention of synthesizers. The Moog's convenient portability and lower cost allowed more people to gain access to the instrument, and even perform the instrument live in concert.
Wendy Carlos released her album, "Switched on Bach," only a year after the invention and debut of the commercial availability of the Moog. As an early user of the Moog synthesizer, Carlos helped popularize the technology. To this day Wendy Carlos is arguably still the most notable Moog player, and her highly successful album, "Switched on Bach," is definitely the most consumed and well praised Moog-produced album. When the instrument was first invented, it was much more difficult to use than it is today.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wendy Carlos and her music have always been favorites of mine for years. My albums from way back when disappeared in one of my moves so I have been rebuilding some of what I once... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Joyce Cooke
For those who remember, this was and IS a great album. The quality was excellent. Too bad it is off the general market. Highly recommended.Published 2 months ago by General
Fantastic clarity of sound using the synth for Bach's classics...Excellent !!Published 3 months ago by Daniel Barrow
Walter (now Wendy) Carlos performed this album, using the (then) state of the art analogue synth equipment and multi-tracking magnetic tape. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
If you like Bach and really like digitized music you will be very pleased with this CDPublished 7 months ago by Floyd Rymer
I bought the record when it was new, and now have the CD. I love this!Published 9 months ago by Mike Golf