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Wendy Carlos is a pioneer in the world of synthesizers, a trailblazing LGBTQ icon, and one of the most important figures in the history of electronic music. Her first studio album Switched-On Bach (performed entirely on the newly commercially available Moog synthesizer, which she helped invent) went platinum and won three Grammys.
If the name Wendy Carlos is not familiar, her work almost certainly is. After the success of Switched-On Bach, Stanley Kubrick invited Carlos to score A Clockwork Orange. Incidentally, before she knew Kubrick was planning to direct an adaptation, Carlos had already composed a piece based on her impression of Anthony Burgess’ novel. She would later describe the project as “a pleasurable venture” and work again with Kubrick on the score for The Shining. Carlos also provided the original score for Disney’s Tron, the first collaboration between Carlos and her partner Annemarie Franklin.
The influence of her sound overshadows her public self, which may very well be of Carlos’ own design. So it is something of a treat to see footage of Carlos in her element. In the following BBC Two interview Carlos, accompanied by her two cats, operates an original Moog synth and explains how she uses analog synths to create electronic dupes of real instruments.
You can watch the interview with Wendy Carlos on the BBC Archive, or below, here:
Who made this?
Wendy Carlos was interviewed in her Greenwich Village studio by BBC Two program Horizon. The interview was originally broadcast on November 7th, 1989. You can check out Carlos’ official (and ridiculously detailed) website, here. And you can listen to some of her music on Spotify, here.
More Videos Like This
- Who is Robert Moog and what is the Moog Synthesizer? Here’s the goofy internet show To Tell The Truth with the answers
- Electronic musician Suzanne Ciani explains the basics of a synthesizer
- Here’s YouTuber and music theorist 12tone with a video breaking down “The Asymmetric Divisions of the Octave,” an article by Carlos that subversively proposes that the octave might not be that big a deal, actually
- The Listener’s Guide has a quick and thorough breakdown of Wendy Carlos’ career
- A 2014 video form Moog Music Inc. celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moog Modular Synthesizer
- A discussion of Carlos’ score for The Shining
- Here’s Glenn Gould presenting the Moog Synthesizer, an instrument pioneered, and popularized by Wendy Carlos