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CD REVIEW: Wendy Carlos – Switched-On Bach
By Ben Ohmart - 09/25/2001 - 04:27 PM EDT

Artist: Wendy Carlos
Album: Switched-On Bach
CD Review: Having been born 2 years after this album was originally released – 1968 – I wasn’t around to know the full historic significance of such an action. The music world held their collective mouths agape, as much for the clean smoothness of machine-type performance as for the new technology now emerging.

Wendy Carlos – composer of such classic film scores as Tron and A Clockwork Orange – arranged and performed everything you’ll hear on the cd, including the new ‘Initial Experiments’ interview track which comes at the end of this 49 minute cd.

All played on moog synth. Anyone who thinks this sound is dated – is right. But dated like a calendar. The year might be gone, but day to day, it still damn works. Crisp, elegantly toned and gliding along with polish and intrigue, this cd comes as a revelation to a newcomer like myself. Its NO CHEESE keyboard interpretation of classic classical Bach pieces is warm and wonderful, and utterly, instrumentally potent.

This album became the first classical recording to go Platinum, and won 3 Grammies, including Classical Album of the Year. It’s been remastered now, and continues to gather rave notices whenever it’s talked about. There’s no disguising history; like the Beatles, this broke new ground, and still works on all levels today.

Check it out – or better still, track down the Switched-On Boxed Set, a 4 cd tribute to the mistress of electronic eggheadness.

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