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Carlos electrifies several music genres

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Record album by Wendy Carlos: Switched-on Bach (1968)

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Here’s why this album should be in your collection!

Fans of synthetic pop (Synth) who are interested in its history should examine the work of Wendy Carlos, starting with the legendary 1968 album, Switched-on Bach.

As the title indicates, the tracks are selections from Johann Sebastian Bach, one of classical music’s greatest giants. Carlos, along with collaborators Benjamin Folkman and Rachel Elkind, intended from the beginning for the album to reach pop audiences. It accomplished that and more. Switched-on Bach stayed in Billboard’s charts for most of 1969, and earned three Grammy awards. Moreover, the Moog synthesizer caught the attention of rock, R&B, and jazz musicians.

Thanks to Carlos, Bach rocks, soars, and soothes. All the tracks are marvelous, but especially check out “Sinfonia to Cantata #29,” “Two-Part Invention in F Major,” “Air on A G String,” and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Even the cover versions featured in these video links are impressive.

Carlos’s credentials as a synth genius were established through such works as The Well Tempered Synthesizer, soundtracks for the movies A Clockwork Orange and Tron, and Peter and the Wolf (recorded with “Weird Al” Yancovic).

This album is very popular at this time of year, and makes a wonderful gift. It is available in vinyl, CD, and MP3 format from major vendors. Please consider purchasing it from a local independent record store.

Here’s an interesting fact!

Wendy Carlos was born Walter Carlos, and released Switched-on Bach under that name. In 1972, Carlos underwent sexual reassignment surgery.

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