New Biography Explores the Life of Wendy Carlos, Trans Woman Who Helped Develop the Moog Synthesizer –

A new biography exploring the life of legendary electronic music composer Wendy Carlos has hit the shelves. Written by Amanda Sewell, music director at Interlochen Public Radio, the eponymous book offers an in-depth look into the fascinating life of the 3-time Grammy Award-winning musician. Carlos, whose pioneering developments in music production helped spawn the seminal Moog synthesizer, was also one of the first public figures to come out as a transgender woman.

Robert Moog dropped the curtain on his bespoke synthesizer in 1964, introducing a sleeker, more compact version of the convoluted, analog wired walls of music studios at the time. Carlos went on to harness the power of the Moog synth to record her Switched-On Bach LP, an album that reconfigured Johann Sebastian Bach’s classical compositions into electronic music. The groundbreaking record went on to sell over 1 million copies, serving as a harbinger for the instrument’s usage in contemporary music and an emblem of its storied history. “Up until the late 1960s, the synthesizer was largely something that you found in a very specialized laboratory at a university,” said Sewell. “[Carlos] wanted to bridge that gap and show people that the synthesizer could make music that was approachable.”

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