Innovative composer and musician Wendy Carlos wrote and performed music for A Clockwork Orange (1971), the first film to use Dolby noise reduction technology. But her memories of Ray Dolby’s work stretch before that to using recorders that employed Dolby® technology to make her recordings sound “so clear and clean.”
Carlos achieved prominence in 1968 with the album Switched-on Bach, on which she played Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions on a Moog synthesizer, an electronic instrument that her recording helped to publicize. In addition to A Clockwork Orange, she also worked on music for The Shining (1980), Tron (1982), and other films.
Here are her memories of Ray Dolby:
The tragic news was a shock. Memories and thoughts came tumbling out.
“I owe Ray Dolby so much, like many other artists and engineers of our time. The timing was perfect; his A301’s did indeed ‘stretch’ the decent recording quality of our Ampex recorders to something magical, made it possible for all my masters to sound so clear and clean even today. I shudder to realize how different it would be, had Type-A and its offspring occurred but a few years later … or not at all.
“I liked Ray. A lot. Always the quick smile and hug, a good listener with a sharp mind, shyly easygoing, ever modest in a way younger generations seem to have lost. Will never forget you Ray. RIP.”