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Wendy Carlos and Mike Hankinson, the pioneers/guides in bringing the best of music to the synthesized age deserve more recognition than they have ever (as far as I’m concerned) received. It seems to me that music today has lost its way in that no-one is willing to experiment – except to try shock and awe, and with that comes the reasoning behind me saying ‘music today has lost its way.’
All though the likes of Alice Cooper or Frank Zappa ET. AL. also used the same shock and awe tactics, they were also more than capable musicians, no canned content.
The complexities and beauty of classical music combined with the complexities of synthesized sound is sadly lost to at least a generation, it seems if they can’t get instant gratification through simplicity then it is to be ignored. I will agree that the same can be said when ‘Rock n Roll’ hit the stages of the world but the only difference being, is that the blight of social media and today’s media was far from the horizon and the kids of that era travelled to ‘record’ shops and listened to the radio for the music, not the antics of the performer.
Why create a tribute to Wendy Carlos and Mike Hankinson? I was born in the 1950’s and grew up listening to the Fab Four or the Stones, but to me even as a child I found it nothing more than background noise although in hindsight I will be the first to admit their contribution to the musical landscape of today. I’d regularly heard classical music, radio of the time played enough but it was the late sixties – early seventies that led me down a different path, one of synthesized sounds experimental sounds, and by that I don’t mean hippy noises, I mean the likes of Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream or The Nice, José Vicente Asuar or Juan Amenabar and of course Wendy Carlos and Mike Hankinson.
I first heard Mike Hankinson with his album ‘The Unusual Classical Synthesizer’ in the early seventies and was suitably impressed to say the least. Wendy Carlos, apart from ‘Switched on Bach’ will always be remembered by me for the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange, at this point classical music was now more an integral part of my musical landscape than ever before.
If you do one thing in regards to music, listen to the below even if by someone else, but definitely not with a closed mind. Listen for the time changes, listen to the story each piece tells – listen to it more than once, I’ll be surprised if you don’t feel something positive at some stage.
01 – Adagio in G Minor – Tomaso Albinoni
02 – Asturias – Isaac Albeniz
03 – Goddesses – John Playford
04 – Dafydd y Garreg Wen – David Owen
05 – Danse Macabre – Camille Saint Saens
06 – I Will Not Leave You Comfortless – William Byrd
07 – L’Oreal Suite – Claudio Monteverdi
08 – Valses Poeticos (parts 1 through 8) – Enrique Granados
09 – Prelude In E – Manuel Maria Ponce
10 – Weep O Mine Eyes – John Bennet
11 – Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary – Henry Purcell
12 – Remember O Thou Man – Thomas Ravenscroft
13 – Toccata And Fugue In D Minor – J. S. Bach
14 – Enigma Variations – Sir Edward Elgar
15 – Prelude Dawn – Gioachino Rossini