Walter (Wendy) Carlos – Childe Harold

Before the famous Switched on Bach works, Walter (Wendy) Carlos was involved in a 1968 recording by Childe Harold. A group that only recorded one disc as ‘Brink of death’. It was written by Bert Sommer of The Left Banke, that Barouqe Psych is evident in both sides of this 45.

Produced by Carlos and Elkind, this single features two pop-rock tunes with prominent Moog parts, skillfully programmed and played by Carlos. Booming bass lines, Bach-like interludes, sweeping sonorities and sound effects—they’ll all there in accompaniment of the rock band.

The end of “Brink of Death” even features a sequence of thundering beats that foreshadows Carlos’ own “Timesteps” for the soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange a couple of years later.

Carlos told me that she had been hoping at the time to work with Bert Sommer of The Left Banke, a popular rock group known for its blend of baroque music and rock. But when Sommer never came through, they decided instead to record one of his songs, “Brink of Death,” with Childe Harold.

Carlos wrote the song on the flip side of the record, “Anne, With Love.” My copy of the record has a picture sleeve. Even though the sleeve is stamped as a promotional version, it isn’t the white label promo version, which only had one track, “Brink of Death,”on both sides: one in mono, one in stereo

The record appeared on Limelight records. You can hear the synth sounds created by Carlos, and his some resemblance with the later Clockwork Orange sounds and themes. This is a very little know record.

Bert Sommer (February 7, 1949 – July 23, 1990) was an American folk singer and songwriter. He appeared in the musical Hair and at the Woodstock Festival, and released several albums as a singer-songwriter.