From The Desk Of The Jesus Lizard: Walter Carlos’ “A Clockwork Orange”

In the early ’90s, the Jesus Lizard—vocalist David Yow, guitarist Duane Denison, David Wm. Sims and drummer Mac McNeilly—was untouchable. Not literally, of course—if you were at one of its hundreds of shows in that era, you could very easily touch ’em. And given the amount of time Yow spent slithering on top of the audience, you probably didn’t have a choice in the matter. Denison and McNeilly will be guest editing. Read our new MAGNET Classics feature on the band’s Liar album, one of the most important LPs of the ’90s.

Carlos

Denison: Besides being a groundbreaking film, A Clockwork Orange has one of the greatest scores ever, in my humble opinion. It was composed and recorded by Walter (now Wendy) Carlos on his banks of Moog synthesizers. The original score album came out on Columbia in 1972 and is vastly superior to the soundtrack album (known as Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange), which came out later on Warner Bros. The original score starts off with a 13 minute-plus piece called “Timesteps” and is as complex and jarring as anything else from that prog’ and glam-infused era. You only get an excerpt of this piece on the soundtrack album. There’s also an album closer called “Country Lane,” which is an eerie exercise in atmospherics—completely missing from the soundtrack album! For shame. In between, you’ve got re-workings of Purcell and Beethoven (the “Theme From A Clockwork Orange” and “Beethoviana”) and some Rossini that I personally could do without. Kubrick’s films made exceptional use of amazing music, and this is no exception. If you’ve never heard this album, you really should go out and find a copy. I’ve had mine since I was a teenager, still pull it out every so often, and it never fails to send me.

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