Wendy Carlos, Switched on Bach; and Howard Jones, Human's Lib
There are really two albums that set me on my way to making music. The first is Switched on Bach, the 1968 album by Wendy Carlos.
This album, for the first time, took Baroque music and re-created it using synthesizers. Most purists found the album totally offensive, but it completely sucked me in with the amazing counterpoint of J.S. Bach played with these otherworldly sounds. It was the unusual sounds that caught my attention and the amazing compositions that held my interest. I would sit for hours in my parents' living room with monster 1970s-era headphones trying to follow individual keyboard lines. Seriously, these headphones required a neck brace! Next came Howard Jones 1984 album, Human's Lib. This album for the first time really made me pay attention to the form of the Pop song. It also proved to me that synth geeks could be cool. Strange little synth hooks and socially conscious lyrics -- what more could a teenage boy ask for? OK, I wasn't a normal teenage boy! The first time I saw Howard Jones perform live I was in awe. One man, completely surrounded by synthesizers on a magic rotating stage. I knew right then that this is what I wanted to do when I grew up! (I'm) still striving for that rotating stage -- hydraulics can be pricey -- but these two albums set me on my way and taught a valuable lesson. Bleeps and bloops without a good song ... are really just bleeps and bloops!
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