Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The 25 Bargain Buys of Xmas: Day 12

Much of my calendar year, every year, is spent sifting through record store bargain bins, estate sales, etc. and digging into the acquisitions. I win some and lose some, but I never write about it on AuxOut even though it accounts for a huge portion of my listening and discovery. In honor of the season of presents, I am celebrating some of the gifts bestowed upon me by the record gods during 2023.

Wendy Carlos - Switched-On Bach LP $1.50. 
Ongoing debate: Is Switched-On Bach a radical groundbreaking achievement or did it preemptively narrow and limit the scope and definition of what a synthesizer should do, before the world at large even knew what a synthesizer was? I tended to lean toward the latter viewpoint before picking up a copy of the record. Now, I feel like I've been overthinking things a bit. Is Bach's music traditional? Yes. Is Bach's music "Western"? Yes. Does Bach's music kick ass? Yes! And Carlos's arrangements and performances were indeed radical. There's a valid argument to using new technology to create "new" styles of music never heard before but there's an equally valid approach to take something so familiar as to be boring and to transform it into something novel and electrifying (har, har). I mean, reanimating J.S. Bach's ghost with farting sawtooths is pretty anti-establishment. Especially in 1968.

Crumbelievably, Switched-On Bach is somehow not on youtube, so hit your local bargain bin. You may enjoy songs from the other records I wrote about here:

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