Details

ISBN-10: 0190053461
ISBN-13: 9780190053468
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date: 09/02/2020
Dimensions: 9.40" L, 6.50" W, 1.10" H

Wendy Carlos: A Biography

Hardcover

Price: $34.95

Overview

With her debut album Switched-On Bach, composer and electronic musician Wendy Carlos (b. 1939) brought the sound of the Moog synthesizer to a generation of listeners, helping to effect arguably one of the most substantial changes in popular music’s sound since musicians began using amplifiers. Her story is not only one of a person who blazed new trails in electronic music for decades but is also the story of a person who intersected in many ways with American popular culture, medicine, and social trends during the second half of the 20th century and well into the 21st. There is much to tell about her life and about the ways in which her life reflects many dimensions of American culture.

Carlos’s identity as a transgender woman has shaped many aspects of her life, her career, how she relates to the public, and how the public has received her and her music. Cultural factors surrounding the treatment of transgender people affected many of the decisions that Carlos has made over the decades. Additionally, cultural reception and perception of transgender people has colored how journalists, scholars, and fans have written about Carlos and her music for decades.

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Reviews

"The haunting story and magnificent work of Wendy Carlos is recounted in a fascinating book by musicologist Amanda Sewell, published by Oxford University Press." – Juan Carlos Tellechea, Mundo Classico


"[Sewell] contextualizes the historical and technological details of Carlos's music with the accessible clarity of a gifted public musicologist and radio host ... Wendy Carlos: A Biography starts an important conversation about a composer who is often relegated to the peripheries of twentieth-century music." – Bradley M. Spiers, BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute


"[Sewell] demonstrates that [Carlos] was as important to the success of the Moog synthesizer as the Moog was for her, that she was a pioneering artist in ambient music as well, and that she dismissed being pigeonholed for her synthesized Bach... A balanced biography that gives credit where it is due."–Kirkus


"[Sewell] successfully pulls together a balanced portrait that acknowledges Carlos's unavoidable cultural status as both a pioneer of electronic music and its most famous transgender woman, while also affording due recognition to her sonic accomplishments."–The Wire


"Sewell's nuanced biography of an overlooked composer is our best look yet at this groundbreaking artist, and a reminder that art can and should speak for itself."–Library Journal


"An essential read-not only for electronic music fans, but for anyone interested in the history of gender and popular culture."–4Columns


"Sewell's research is impeccable... an entertaining, often revelatory work, truly befitting a legend and a trailblazer."–Popmatters


"Excellent... A brilliant and trailblazing artist, Carlos herself is fascinating enough, but it's the intersection of her life with other historical currents that makes Sewell's account especially compelling."–Exclaim!


"Amanda Sewell's new biography does Carlos's musical legacy belated justice... Sewell's narrative also strikes a skillful balance to reveal how a spectrum of biases shaped the course of her career, and just as unfairly shapes how listeners understand her music to this day."–Washington Post, Michael Andor Brodeur


"A dramatic illustration of the difficulty of telling stories about the origins of electronic music–of looking for narrative in its halting complexity, for the personal in its rigid impersonality."–Harper's Magazine


"A grounded, thoughtful, appreciative study that maintains focus on its subject and her milieu, all the while paying the reader the courtesy of elegant prose."–Wall Street Journal


"Measured and thorough, a careful, sympathetic, and detailed portrait of a figure who changed the course of electronic music and then, just as it began to proliferate at an unprecedented pace in the 21st century, disappeared."–The Nation


"An important account that helps us understand the legacy of an underexposed trailblazing composer. It also offers readers much in the way of how transgender people have historically been treated and represented, including at the hands of the tastemakers in popular culture."–Washington Post, Karen Iris Tucker


"Throughout her life, Carlos has fought to be treated simply as a musician without reference to her personal history. Sewell largely honors this wish and makes a convincing case for regarding Carlos as one of the major musical figures of the 20th century."–The Gay & Lesbian Review


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Details

ISBN-10: 0190053461
ISBN-13: 9780190053468
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date: 09/02/2020
Dimensions: 9.40" L, 6.50" W, 1.10" H
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