Any discussion that gets hung up on the instrumentation of this record misses that, here, Carlos gets the feeling of Bach’s music nailed, track after track. This is a player on a mission. Note how the material is cleverly sequenced for maximum liveliness and variety…
# Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
# Performer: Walter (now Wendy) Carlos
# Vinyl (1969)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: FLAC (Tracks)
# Label: CBS
# DR-Analysis: DR 11
# ASIN: B00005ORCV
# Size: 898 MB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
…Then, mysteriously, after this album was a left-field hit, Carlos did the amusing, spooky “Clockwork Orange” soundtrack and that was about it for quality performances. The rest is sacred only to her cult. But the original Switched-On is far more than a nostalgia item. It documents one human’s passion overcoming the technological limitations of that era’s crude synths.
Wendy Carlos’s Switched-On Bach is one of those rare novelty recordings that never gets boring. In the capable hands of Carlos, Bach’s keyboard masterpieces sound like they were made for the otherworldly blurps, farts, and chimes of a Moog synthesizer. And, in a sense, they were. Bach’s inventive music doesn’t lose any of its contrapuntal punch in these complicated arrangements and, novelties aside, the playing is great on this Grammy Award-winning classic. Whether performing Bach’s “Two-Part Inventions,” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” or “Wachet Auf,” Carlos offers one-of-a-kind interpretations, her synthesizers still sounding as otherworldly as they did in 1968. This is one of those weird and wonderful classical releases that anyone–classical scholar or pop enthusiast–can enjoy. A Switched-On box set exists, capturing most of Carlos’s baroque-gone-berserk output, but this is the disc that started it all. In a word, fun. –Jason Verlinde
Wendy Carlos’s iconic album, “Switched on Bach,” is a favorite of many. Released for the first time in the year 1968, “Switched on Bach,” is the best-selling classical record of all time. Why does Carlos’s rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s classics have such a mass appeal? There are many reasons that attribute to the album’s success (in my humble opinion).
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. It’s quite tricky to capture such a variety of tones and pitches on the Moog (Just look at a picture of the thing and you’ll believe me.), which I think speaks a great deal of Carlos’s skill and talent. She was able to demonstrate that the Moog is indeed a legitimate and pleasant-sounding musical instrument, so much so that it can even offer a great rendition of J.S. Bach’s work!
Wendy Carlos recreated recognizable, timeless pieces by playing them on an innovative, interesting instrument that generated a distinct, fun sound. “Switched on Bach” is a clever combination of something new and exciting mixed with a formula that has been tried and true for years. I think one of the best ways to guarantee success is to simply (but not so easily) remix what has been successful in the past to make it seem fresh. For example, many of the highest grossing movies in theaters today are either updated versions of older cultural pieces (i.e. Transformers, Smurfs) or the next installment of a widely popular series (i.e. Twilight, Harry Potter) or sometimes a combination of both! Carlos definitely mastered this golden formula with her “Switched on Bach” album – the songs are timeless but the Moog’s sound is so interesting and futuristic sounding (for its time).
Each piece featured in “Switched on Bach” is much shorter than its original, making the listening less arduous (We all know how short our attention spans can be.) and also implying that the music might be a bit quicker paced (or “catchier”) than its older counterparts, which is often the case. I think that “Switched on Bach” appeals to a younger audience in this sense. I must admit, this is why I personally am very fond of Wendy Carlos’s work. Of course, the album additionally wins the senior vote because of obvious reasons. The songs themselves are classical and generally appealing; maybe they even stir up a bit of nostalgia.
“Switched on Bach” is also momentous in the sense that it served as an inspiration to other artists. A plethora of other synthesizer records were released in the 1960’s and 1970’s following Wendy Carlos’s work. Coincidence? Not likely.
|A1||Sinfonia To Cantata No. 29||3:20|
|A2||Air On A G String||2:27|
|A3||Two-Part Invention In F Major||0:40|
|A4||Two-Part Invention In B-Flat Major||1:30|
|A5||Two-Part Invention In D Minor||0:55|
|A6||Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring||2:56|
|A7||Prelude And Fugue No. 7 In E-Flat Major||7:07|
|B1||Prelude And Fugue No. 2 In C Minor||2:43|
|B2||Chorale Prelude ‘Wachet Auf’||3:37|
|B3||Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major (First Movement)||6:35|
|B4||Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major (Second Movement)||2:50|
|B5||Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major (Third Movement)||5:05|
Analyzed folder: /96kWaCa_SwOnBa1/96k Walter Carlos – Switched on Bach 1
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR11 -0.60 dB -14.81 dB A1 Sinfonia To Cantata No. 29.wav
DR10 -5.10 dB -17.51 dB A2 Air On A G String.wav
DR11 -2.75 dB -16.84 dB A3 Two-Part Invention In F Major.wav
DR9 -5.64 dB -18.25 dB A4 Two-Part Invention In B-Flat Major.wav
DR12 -3.64 dB -20.00 dB A5 Two-Part Invention In D Minor.wav
DR10 -4.50 dB -16.96 dB A6 Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring.wav
DR11 -0.62 dB -15.86 dB A7 Prelude And Fugue No. 7 In E-Flat Major.wav
DR13 -0.59 dB -17.13 dB B1 Prelude And Fugue No. 2 In C Minor.wav
DR12 -3.93 dB -18.46 dB B2 Chorale Prelude ‘Wachet Auf’ .wav
DR12 -0.95 dB -15.48 dB B3 Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major B3 1st Movement.wav
DR12 -1.11 dB -16.55 dB B4 Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major B3 2nd Movement.wav
DR13 -2.42 dB -18.42 dB B5 Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 In G Major B3 3rd Movement.wav
Number of files: 12
Official DR value: DR11
- Composed By – Johann Sebastian Bach
- Photography By – Horn/Griner
- Producer – Trans-Electronic-Music Productions, Inc.
- Programmed By [Electronic Realizations And Performances] – Walter Carlos
- Recorded By [Assistant] – Benjamin Folkman, Rachel Elkind
- Sleeve Notes – Benjamin Folkman, Rachel Elkind, Robert Moog
Music by J.S. Bach played on the Moog synthesiser. A7 and B1 from Book I of ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’.
This album was devised and produced by Trans-Electronic-Music Productions, Inc. (Tempi)
Made in Holland ℗ 1969 NL Printed In Holland
- RCM: Okki Nokki
- TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
- Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Light de-Clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising
If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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Download from FileFactory corrected track A5 uploaded – replace the old one