Search - Johann Sebastian Bach, Wendy Carlos :: Switched-On Bach

Switched-On Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach, Wendy Carlos
Switched-On Bach
Genres: Dance & Electronic, New Age, Classical
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #1

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...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Johann Sebastian Bach, Wendy Carlos
Title: Switched-On Bach
Members Wishing: 17
Total Copies: 0
Label: East Side Digital
Original Release Date: 1/1/1968
Re-Release Date: 10/2/2001
Album Type: Enhanced, Original recording remastered
Genres: Dance & Electronic, New Age, Classical
Styles: Electronica, Opera & Classical Vocal, Forms & Genres, Concertos, Fugues, Inventions, Suites, Historical Periods, Baroque (c.1600-1750), Instruments, Electronic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 021561816022, 002156181602, 002156181602

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 it's 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

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CD Reviews

To Those Who Just Don't Get It.....
P. Schmidt | Chicago, Illinois USA | 08/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After Bob Moog's death one week ago, I found myself listening to everything I have in my collection that was performed on a Moog synthesizer. This includes all of the Carlos stuff, all of Hans Wurmans's material (commercially released and otherwise) that I am lucky to's harder to find..., and that of other artists and non-so-artistic performers. I even listened to my own opus from college electronic music lab and my own subsequent multi-track home studio work with my two MiniMoogs + MicroMoog.

In all of this, there is no way to get around the fact that the original Switched-On-Bach is the paramount of analog synthesizer performances known to me. I estimate that since a grade school music teacher first played the opening track for us when SOB first came out, and I begged my very reluctant, classically trained, serious-musician parents to buy me the LP, that I have listened to the album almost 2000 times.

I am a classical musician, recording engineer, and hear tons of music daily. I never get tired of J.S. Bach's music, and the amazing performances of Walter/Wendy Carlos do not wear thin. I have a pretty good idea of how Carlos put these tracks together, and why, and over what time period and under what conditions. I know how hard it is to pay Bach's complex music well, and I am very familiar with the huge difficulties in even approximating those performance values on multi-tracked synthesizer without MIDI, computer assistance, or sequencers. I also know that Carlos did this work at home using a very limited home-built multi-track recorder and mixer, on an instrument that was not at all refined, even for an early synth. And yet the music sings, and jumps out of the speakers, and dances and lives.

The work of others is simple organ playing by comparison. Carlos did the impossible, and the results are still marvelous today."
A solid reproduction of the original
David A. Beamer | Clawson, MI United States | 01/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I fondly remember wearing out the original LP version of this recording when it came out, I listened to it so much. (Actually, one of the best things about having this CD is that it doesn't have the skips and clicks that I memorized as if they were part of Bach's music...) Having it back in my listenable collection is a treat.Granted, these performances do not compete with the kinds of things that people can do with synths and computers nowadays. But it certainly was VERY different when it originally came out. It opened whole new vistas that Carlos and others have been exploring ever since. The VERY free rendering of the second movement of the 3rd Brandenburg can still hold its own with some of the latest synth stuff.The last track ("Initial Experiments") is an added bonus. It consists of Carlos explaining some of the ideas that were originally tried when doing the recording, along with some of those cast-off takes. For the technically inclined, something that's especially interesting is an explanation of "tuned white noise", which is one of the timbres that I could not figure out how to reproduce when I had an electronic music class in college (in the late 70's), and had to fight with a Moog similar to what Carlos used. The instrument was a beast -- getting one sound just right could take hours.Do you absolutely HAVE to own this recording? Not unless you're a music history professor, or a collector of historic recordings. But it's still just as much fun as it was back then."
You need this album
Nathan Eady | Galion, Ohio, USA | 05/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I was a kid, my parents had a turntable. (The kind that
plays the black round things they used to call records.) They
had probably fifty records; this is the only one I remember.
I've since looked through the old boxes of records, and there's
quite a variety of stuff: everything from Messiah to Ray
Stevens. I'm told I listened to all of it (until the turntable
broke when I was in elementary school), but this is the album
I never forgot. It is probably the bulk of the reason that
today I like baroque music in general and J.S. Bach in
particular more than any other music.Played this way, Bach really *moves*. It makes you want to
move, too. You can't get it out of your head, and you don't
want to. Now that I know it's still available I'm getting
the boxed set, but if you only get one album, get this one."