Wendy Carlos Digital Moonscapes / Beauty In The Beast

Not only is Wendy Carlos a pioneer in electronic music in using the synthesiser, her involvement and contributions to the development of the beasts of circuitry has made her somewhat of an electronic genetic engineer. Loosely modelled after Holst's The Planets, Digital Moonscapes (originally released in 1984) was a rather traditional yet adventurous musical impression made by various planets and moons in the solar system. The album would also serve to be the world's first "orchestra" to be conducted and created completely within the electronic realm. While somewhat serving as a practical excuse for Carlos to manipulate and mutate technology to create a more realistic sounding digital orchestra, it wasn't until two years later that she would break ground with the legendary Beauty In The Beast, a meisterwerk on all levels. It is a surreal, Hieronymous Bosch-like musical interpretation of what lies beneath normality, and inspired by her world travels. After having endlessly tweaked each sound and circuit by ear, Carlos took things to the next level by somehow applying "magical" attributes to her library of orchestral sounds, which are otherwise humanly impossible to do with the real instruments. Somehow, these sounds become animals in their own right, sometimes even emitting bizarre emotions that are felt for the most part as too new, raw and peregrine to be able to describe. As with her film score for A Clockwork Orange, these two sparkling, remastered reissues are the definitive versions to obtain, as not only is the sound astronomically better but Carlos' own infatuatingly in-depth liner notes are more informative than most encyclopaedias. (East Side Digital)