December 12, 2008

Wendy Carlos (aka Walter Carlos)

Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos on 14 November 1939, in Pawtuckett, Rhode Island) is one of the first famous performers of electronic music. "Switched-On-Bach", the electronically generated versions of works by Johann Sebastian Bach was contained one of the first albums that made attempt, synthesizers to use as an alternative to an orchestra.

As an assistant to Robert Moog in developing its first commercially available synthesizer, Carlos advance the technology of sound synthesis.
Switched-On Bach was the best selling classical album of all time.
In 1972, Carlos underwent after a long preparation for a gender reassignment surgery and changed his name officially.
The artist's first recordings were released under the name Walter Carlos. The first release credited to her as "Wendy" 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 regrets because of the unwelcome publicity it brought to her personal life, where her surgery was described in anatomical detail.

Carlos began musical education at age six with piano lessons. Following undergraduate studies of music and physics at Brown University accompanied by early explorations of electronic music, Carlos earned a master's degree in composition at Colunbia University, studying there with Vladimir Usschevsky, a pioneer in electronic music (other teachers included Otto Luening and Jack Beeson). Remaining in New York after graduation, Carlos met Rober Moog and was one of his earliest customers, providing feedback for his further development of the Moog synthesizer. Carlos convinced Moog to add touch-sensitivity to the synthesizer keyboard, to allow a greater level of dynamics and musicality.

Around 1966, Carlos met Rachel Elkind, who produced Switched-On Bach and other early albums. With the proceeds of Switched-On Bach, the two renovated a New York brownstone, which they shared as a home and business premises, installing a studio for live and electronic recording on the bottom floor. Carlos took the unusual step of enclosing the entire studio in a Faraday cage, shielding the equipment from radio and television interference.

Carlos first came to notice in the late 1960s with recordings made on the Moog synthesizer, then a relatively new and unknown instrument; most notable were LPs of synthesized Bach and the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange. Several years prior, two Carlos compositions using classical (pre-Moog) electronic techniques had been issued on LP (Variations for Flute and Tape and Dialogues for Piano and Two Loudspeakers). Although the first Carlos Moog albums were interpretations of the works of classical composers, she later resumed releasing original compositions.
Carlos' first release was entitled "Moog 900 Series - Electronic Music Systems" (R. A. Moog Company, Inc., 1967) and it was an introduction to the technical aspects of the machine.
Switched-On-Bach (1968) was an early album demonstrating the use of the synthesizer as a genuine musical instrument. As an early user of Robert Moog's first commercially available synthesizer modules (Moog assembled these as custom installations that differed greatly from user to user), Walter Carlos helped pioneer the technology, which was significantly more difficult to use than it is today. Multitracking recording techniques played a critical role in the time-consuming process of creating this album. Switched-On Bach was the last project in his four-year-long collaboration with Benjamin Folkman and won gold records for both Carlos and Folkman. The album then became one of the first classical LPs to sell 500,000 copies, and (eventually) to go platinum.
Carlos composed and recorded music for "A Clockwork Orange" (1971). She worked with Stanley Kubrick again on "The Shining". In 1982, she scored the film "Tron" for Disney. This score incorporated orchestra, chorus, organ, and both analog and digital synthesizers. Some of her end-title music featuring the Royal Albert Hall Organ was replaced with a song by the Rockgroup Journey, and the music that originally was composed for the lightcycle scene was dropped. Digital Moonscapes (1984) switched to digital synthesizers from the analog synthesizers that were the trademark of her earlier albums. Some of the unused material from the Tron soundtrack was incorporated into it.

Beginning in 1998, all of her catalogue was remastered. In 2005, the two-volume set Rediscovering Lost Scores was released, featuring previously out-of-print material, including the unreleased soundtrack to Woundings, and music composed and recorded for The Shining, Tron and A Clockwork Orange that was not used in the films.

December 11, 2008

The Droids - The Force (1977)


Great french cosmic synth-disco from the late 1970s.

November 15, 2008

Claudio Gizzi - The man behind "Automat"

The career of Claudio Gizzi (aka Jean Pierre Posit) is recognized for neo-classical compositions used as soundtrack mainly in horror and B movies as well as Andy Warhol's "Flesh for Frankenstein" and "Blood for Dracula". He also composed some incidental music for Roman Polanski's "What?" ("Che?" F/I, 1972).
Back in 1978 he launched a curious and innovative musical project with Romano Musumarra and Mario Maggi called "Automat" and only known for one album. The music is entirely built around the MCS70 synthesizer and progammings, designed and built by Mario Maggi.

November 14, 2008

Second Life - Second Life (2007)

Influenced by german and french Synth- and Library Music Second Life's same titled release combines colourful synthesizer landscapes with fairytale's world. The tracks are arranged in long durated meditation excurses, played by analogue synthesis software and samples. Hypnotic, partly with an obscure touch.
> here

October 19, 2008

October 17, 2008

Robert "Bob" Moog

Dr. Robert Arthur Moog (pronounced /ˈmoʊɡ/, mohg), commonly called Bob Moog (May 23, 1934 – August 21, 2005) was an American pioneer of electronic music, best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer.

A native of New York City, Robert Moog attended the Bronx High School of Science in New York, graduating in 1952. Moog earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Queens College, New York in 1957, another in electrical engineering from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in engineering physics from Cornell University. Moog's awards include honorary doctorates from Polytechnic Institute of New York University (New York City) and Lycoming College (Williamsport, Pennsylvania).

During his lifetime, Bob Moog founded two companies for manufacturing electronic musical instruments. He also worked as a consultant and vice president for new product research at Kurzweil Music Systems from 1984 to 1988, helping to develop the Kurzweil K2000. Moog spent the early 1990s as a research professor of music at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
He received a Grammy Trustees Award for lifetime achievement in 1970.

In 2002, Bob Moog was honored with a Grammy Tech Award, and an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee College of Music.
He gave an enthusiastically-received lecture at the 2004 New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME-04), held in Hamamatsu, Japan's "City of Musical Instruments", in June, 2004. Moog was the inspiration behind the 2004 film Moog. Robert Moog was diagnosed with a brain tumor on April 28, 2005. Nearly four months later, Moog died at the age of 71 in Asheville, North Carolina. The Bob Moog Foundation was created as a memorial, with the aim of continuing his life's work of developing electronic music.

The Moog synthesizer was one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments. Early developmental work on the components of the synthesizer occurred at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, now the Computer Music Center. While there, Moog developed the voltage controlled oscillators, ADSR envelope generators, and other synthesizer modules with composer Herbert Deutsch.

Bob Moog created the first voltage-controlled subtractive synthesizer to utilize a keyboard as a controller and demonstrated it at the AES convention in 1964. In 1966, Moog filed a patent application for his unique low-pass filter U.S. Patent 3,475,623, which issued in October 1969. He held several dozen patents.

Moog employed his theremin company (R. A. Moog Co., which would later become Moog Music) to manufacture and market his synthesizers. Unlike the few other 1960s synthesizer manufacturers, Moog shipped a piano-style keyboard as the standard user interface to his synthesizers. Moog also established standards for analog synthesizer control interfacing, with a logarithmic one volt-per-octave pitch control and a separate pulse triggering signal.

The first Moog instruments were modular synthesizers. In 1971 Moog Music began production of the Minimoog Model D which was among the first widely available, portable and relatively affordable synthesizers.

One of Moog's earliest musical customers was Wendy Carlos whom he credits with providing feedback that was valuable to the further development of Moog synthesizers. Through his involvement in electronic music, Moog developed close professional relationships with various artists. In a 2000 interview, Moog said "I'm an engineer. I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers. They use my tools."

April 17, 2008

Cordovox CRD-0610 (1975-1977)

Not a White Elephant, but definitely a combo organ. Also has a built-in amp and two 3"x4" speakers.
Thanks for this "player's perspective: "The sound of this instrument is along the lines of your standard "Farfisa" style combo organ, perhaps a little cheesier, but useful... The voices range from "fuzzy" on the strings tab to nasally on brass, mellow on flute, etc...the vibrato is kind of exaggerated, but could probably be toned down by finding and adjusting the correct pot inside."

Top Panel: Buttons: Diapason, Flute, Melodia, String, Brass; Slider: Volume; Button: On/Off

Left of Keyboard: Slider: Volume, Bass Volume; Tabs: Piano, Guitar, Banjo, Harpsichord, Vibrato, Vibrato

January 01, 2008

Innocenti Nonstop - White System Mix

Innocenti Nonstop - White System Mix (10:55)
Style: Cosmic
> here