In a statement on her website, the synth pioneer said: “Please be aware there’s a purported “Biography” on me just released. It belongs on the fiction shelf. No one ever interviewed me, nor anyone I know. There's zero fact-checking. Don’t recognize myself anywhere in there—weird. Sloppy, dull and dubious, it's hardly an objective academic study as it pretends to be.”
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Wendy Carlos: A Biography is written by Amanda Sewell, and claims to “cover both her entire musical output and her personal life” from “access to archives never before cited in research on Carlos”.
Wendy Carlos further said: “This slim, mean-sprited volume is based on several false premises. All of it is speculation taken out of context. The key sources are other people’s write-ups of interviews done for magazine articles. There’s simply no way to know what’s true or not—nothing is first-hand.
“The book is presumptuous. Pathetically, it accepts as “factual” a grab-bag of online urban legends, including anonymous axes to grind. The author imputes things she doesn’t understand, misses the real reasons for what was done or not done. She’s in way over her head, outside any areas of expertise, and even defames my dear deceased parents—shame!”
She added: “Well, now you know, and have the victim's honest reactions. Wish there were more one could do about needless personal attacks, but we have to understand how essential freedom of speech is, even when it permits such abuse. Have dealt with stereotyping most of my life, a pretty tough hide by now. But aren’t there new, more interesting targets? Unless you consider “academic” books a form of contact sport, you really might want to reconsider your time and money.”
Carlos won three GRAMMY Awards in 1970 for her debut album ‘Switched-On Bach’, performing compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach on Moog synthesizer, which helped popularise the use of synthesisers outside of experimental music.
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter
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