Digital Moonscapes

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Digital Moonscapes
Studio album by Wendy Carlos
Released  1984 (1984-MM)
Genre Classical
Length 55:38
Label East Side Digital
Producer Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos chronology
Tron (soundtrack) (1982)String Module Error: Match not foundString Module Error: Match not found Digital Moonscapes (1984) Beauty in the Beast (1986)String Module Error: Match not foundString Module Error: Match not found

Digital Moonscapes (1984) is an album by Wendy Carlos. "Written for orchestra (or orchestra replica), it is inspired by several astronomical subjects."[1] A symphony orchestra is simulated using Digital Synth's GDS (General Development System) and Synergy Digital Synthesizers (see: Crumar). These used additive and complex FM/PM modulation. She named her ensemble the LSI Philharmonic: "('Large Scale Integration' circuits, i.e., computer chips)".[1] "This was the first digitally synthesized orchestra of any significance that a single composer could command."[2]

But why do all this?...The goal ought to be providing the base on which to build new sounds with orchestral qualities that have not been heard before but are equally satisfying to the ear...look for the next steps using the experimental hybrid and imaginary sounds which have grown out of this work.

— Wendy Carlos[2]

These efforts bear fruit in her later work Beauty in the Beast (1986) and Tales of Heaven and Hell (1998).[2]

The music on the album is described as: "veer[ing] uncomfortably between murky electronic experimentalism and weedy pseudo-baroque,"[3] and as, "thoroughly tonal, Romantic-orchestra-inspired, electronic tone poems."[4]

According to Curtis Roads, "Three compositions produced in the 1980s stand as good examples of compositional manipulation of analysis data: Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco (1981) by Jonathan Harvey, Désintegrations (1983, Salabert Trajectoires) by Tristan Murail, and Digital Moonscapes (1985, CBS/Sony) by Wendy Carlos."[5]

The album was Carlos' first album since completing the score for Tron, and it would be her final release for CBS. It was re-released in 200 on the now-defunct East Side Digital label with new cover art that Carlos said was rejected by CBS. She further stated that the artwork for the original CBS release was not available to them due to CBS owning the copyright on it. [6] The title is now out of print, as is the majority of her catalog following the collapse of ESD.


  1. ^ a b "Digital Moonscapes",
  2. ^ a b c Holmes, Thom (2002). Electronic and Experimental Music, p.166. ISBN 978-0-415-93644-6.
  3. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir, ed. (2001). All music guide to electronica, p.84. McDonald, Steven. ISBN 978-0-87930-628-1.
  4. ^ Morin, Alexander J. (2002). Classical Music, p.1082. ISBN 978-0-87930-638-0.
  5. ^ Roads, Curtis (1996). The Computer Music Tutorial, p.146. ISBN 978-0-262-68082-0.
  6. ^

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