Monday, August 27, 2012

Record Machine: Walter/Wendy Carlos and The Well-Tempered Synthesizer

To anyone paying attention (perhaps all 6 of you), it might have seemed as though I'd forgotten about my Record Machine project. No, I've just been lazy about listening to vinyl, a.k.a I needed to clean off all the stuff I'd accumulated on top of the player.

However, when I was looking through some of my inherited vinyl collection and I saw the title The Well-Tempered Synthesizer, I thought, "Well, now I have to know what something called that sounds like."

Turns out, a lot like this:

YouTube is not particularly forthcoming with songs from the album itself. Released in 1969 by Colombia, this collection of classical tunes ala synth sort of made me feel like I was at a RenFaire in the 1980s. Or perhaps a bizarro episode of Downton Abbey. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Walter-now-Wendy Carlos also contributed music to the films A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and the 1982 version of Tron.

The Well-Tempered Synthesizer: Back Liner Notes

Well-Tempered Synthesier: SongList

(Click on through to Flickr for a more in focus song listing.)

This album is a follow-up to Switched-On Bach, another synth-filled album, which won 3 Grammys in 1969, including Classical Album of the Year. Again, somewhat unsurprisingly, that album is sitting in my dad's old collection too. I'm not sure how he acquired these two, as it's not really the sort of music he was into. Perhaps, like me, he just found the idea amusing and found them for cheap.

Particularly funny was this note on the back:
Well-Tempered Synthesizer: Stereo Balance

"Important: This record has critical stereo balance. For maximum enjoyment, please balance your speakers by using the test tones on Side 1, Band 1. You will hear four tones in the exact center, followed by Left, Right, Left, Right."

Yeah, sorry. My current crappy turntable is a mono one-speaker deal. I'm sure the balance is quite lovely over headphones instead.

I wouldn't necessarily say I enjoyed this or that I would be in the habit of putting it on, but I do like that I have it.

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