“The part of Bruce the Duck is played by a [synthesized] oboe.”
February 5, 2019 11:04 PM   Subscribe

 
Lyrics don't come up for me, sorry! I have sung a bunch, though, which I could track down.
posted by lokta at 11:15 PM on February 5


Lyrics don't come up for me, sorry! I have sung a bunch, though, which I could track down.

Oh, alas. I won’t paste the whole thing, but here is what Google tells me Saint-Saëns wrote as his first stanza:

Baby I'm preying on you tonight Hunt you down eat you alive
Just like animals, animals
Like animals-mals
Maybe you think that you can hide I can smell your scent from miles Just like animals, animals
Like animals-mals

posted by Going To Maine at 11:19 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


I love this album, and in spite (and to some extent because) of the great chagrin and disapproval it elicits in my Very German mother-in-law, it is played to my twins on a fairly heavy rotation.
posted by MarchHare at 12:24 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Favorited because Wendy Carlos was one of my favorites back in the '70s before she was Wendy. I grew up on this sort of electronica.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:28 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Also: The Broken Scales Of Wendy Carlos.
You should also google 'Walter Carlos' just to get full coverage of the awesomeness of Wendy.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:36 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Wendy Carlos is one of my musical idols, and I've heard (some, but not all of) her instructional CD on synthesized music, which can be hard to find. It's interesting, because despite being so iconic for her work with analog synths (especially that thick modular Moog sound), she comes out as a major proponent of digital synthesis. She talks about how digital synths have a much greater range of timbres, and how they can more closely approximate other instruments. This is true, but until relatively recently they also sounded like, well, approximations of other instruments.

So I love that the instrument patches in this album sound so dated and wonky, because it makes it sound precisely like a Wendy Carlos work from 1998. Expertly arranged and performed, but with the tonality of the incidental music from Xena: Warrior Princess.

I love it.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:40 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


She talks about how digital synths have a much greater range of timbres, and how they can more closely approximate other instruments. This is true, but until relatively recently they also sounded like, well, approximations of other instruments.

It's weird to read her praising the "realism" of digital synths in the era when they were very much not -- and contrast that with her complaints about the limitations of the compact disc format compared to analog media. But I did recently track down a copy of her Digital Moonscapes which my Sears-branded imitation of a Walkman destroyed in 1986. It's a mix of cheesy and brilliant, pretty much like all of her work IMHO.

I think the West Coast synthesis crowd had kind of a valid complaint that Switched-On Bach popularized the wrong things about electronic music and stunted its growth, in a way. At the same time, there's a lot of Bach where I feel like Wendy Carlos' version is the definitive one.
posted by Foosnark at 5:30 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I owned this back in the day.

It was brilliant.
posted by mephron at 5:52 AM on February 6


Oh, man I owned this record and . . . What?

Well it was a thing they sold music on.

No, no, an actual physical thing. You could own it forever -- or until it wore out -- and do whatever you wanted with it, and share it or sell it or just enjoy the art on the sleeve which in this case was a funny cartoon and . . . What?

Well you had to have that because the record was a little fragile and . . . What?

Well, it was a piece of vinyl with a groove in it and the groove had little bumps in it that made a needle vibrate and that was translated into electrical impulses that were . . . What? No.

No. It's not bullshit.

No. No.

It wasn't powered by steam.

[Bellman, to his 11 year-old son, about SO MANY THINGS.]
posted by The Bellman at 6:12 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


This is just pressing all the buttons on my vending machine at once.
posted by groda at 6:25 AM on February 6


Well that's two names that make me sit up and pay attention.

... and I'm not too many minutes in and

"Holy Cow! A talking bird" said Peter.

This is gonna be good.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:28 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Just like animals, animals
Like animals-mals


It's a little known fact that Saint-Saëns excised the line "let me hear your body talk" in the final draft.

What's amazing is just how many people have narrated Peter and the Wolf—Eleanor Roosevelt in 1950, Boris Karloff in '57, Lorne Greene, Sean Connery (Surprise Me, Prokofiev!), Bowie, William F. Buckley, Sting, Patrick Stewart, and Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, and Sophia Loren, all together! Shame no one's ever asked Peter Wolf to narrate Peter and the Wolf, tho.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:42 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


The tragedy of Wendy's hyperprotective stance towards her work being out there without compensation is that astonishing, inspiring, and exasperatingly out-of-print albums like Beauty In The Beast can neither be bought, borrowed, or streamed for more than a few moments before the DMCA complaints shut them down.

For this one, unless the copyright somehow lapsed, listen quick before it disappears.

She talks about how digital synths have a much greater range of timbres, and how they can more closely approximate other instruments. This is true, but until relatively recently they also sounded like, well, approximations of other instruments.

Now, as far as digital synthesis is concerned, Wendy is one of the absolute best of the Western classical traditionalist camp at producing recordings with a lush aliveness and beautiful articulation of synthetic instruments that makes them such a joy to listen to, and she was an absolute master of the additive synthesis you could achieve with a Crumar GDS and a pair of DK Synergy keyboards (which also made her glorious tunings possible), but digital synthesis producing sounds absolutely impossible in the realm of analogue synthesis isn't a recent development, as Michael McNabb's exquisite gem from 1978, "Dreamsong," rendered on a DEC computer that ran at a fraction of the speed of a $35 Raspberry Pi.

It was a fantastic time to be alive, though, with composers on that level still working things out as I was reaching out and exploring music, and it's why the instruments between me and an audience will almost always be full of digital wonderment.
posted by sonascope at 7:24 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Can't listen yet, but I was able to listen to the introduction and I'm hooked - I had no idea this existed... Thanks for posting!
posted by Mchelly at 7:28 AM on February 6


The Bellman: Bellman, to his 11 year-old son, about SO MANY THINGS

About a decade ago, kids that age who came and visited our real, working, yet also pretty retro college radio station were mostly baffled by records, so whenever a group of kids came through on tour, we'd always pull out a record and ask "who knows what this is?" Some said "Oh, my parents/ siblings have some of those!" and most were confused, much to the amusement and/or chagrin of their older school chaperones.

[If you want to show your kids records in action, come on over to the filthy light thief house! We have a very functional record player and a plenty of records (including some Wendy Carlos, I think, and even cassettes (including some Weird Al) and a vintage boombox! Stick around and we'll pull out the rotary phone, but our phone plugs aren't live, so we can't show you the phone in action, sorry.]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:20 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I certainly wouldn't pay $250 to own this on disc, but it is very funny and musically adept. Clearly nothing that sounds exactly like it will ever be made again. Especially if you have kids, give it a listen.
posted by wnissen at 8:52 AM on February 6


Note that if you like this, you may also enjoy the version of "The Elephant's Child" that's narrated by Jack Nicholson with musical accompaniment by Bobby McFerrin, which was a staple of my youth, and is the reason why I now sometimes mentally say to myself "the great, grey, green, greasy Limpopo river, all set about with fever trees" in my best Jack Torrance impression.
posted by Four String Riot at 9:58 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


The tragedy of Wendy's hyperprotective stance towards her work being out there without compensation is that astonishing, inspiring, and exasperatingly out-of-print albums like Beauty In The Beast can neither be bought, borrowed, or streamed for more than a few moments before the DMCA complaints shut them down.

I'd wondered why I was no longer able to find anything by her. I'm pretty sure I lost my copy of the Well-Tempered Synthesizer which (if I recall correctly) had a version of a Telemann piece that remains one of the most transcendent musical performances I've ever heard. It's heartbreaking to realize I may never get to hear it again.
posted by treepour at 11:00 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I can't read her website. What happened to dark letters on light backgrounds, or the reverse?
posted by lhauser at 7:33 PM on February 6


Dang, I take it back. DarkReader was doing weird things to Wendy's page. Turning off made everything all right.

I'll just show myself out...
posted by lhauser at 7:42 PM on February 6


It's heartbreaking to realize I may never get to hear it again.

I hear that pain! But discogs is rife with used copies. It won't help if you need a turntable, of course, but the material can be had...
posted by Going To Maine at 7:55 PM on February 6


The Well-Tempered Synthesizer on the Internet Archive.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:16 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


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