MATRIXSYNTH: Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue to Digital (and Back) by Oli Freke

Monday, September 14, 2020

Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue to Digital (and Back) by Oli Freke

New synth book coming from Oli Freke, who brought us the SYNTH EVOLUTION posters.

The book is currently available for pre-order here.

The book features:

• Over 500 hand-drawn illustrations of vintage synthesizers, drum-machines, samplers and pre-modern electric instruments.

• A reference book for every synthesizer, drum-machine and sampler manufactured between 1963 and 1995 with key stats, fascinatingly quirky facts and company profiles.

• Destined to be the new ‘bible’ of synthesizer information, following in the footsteps of the classic ‘KeyFax’ series by Julian Colbeck.

• Tells the story and impact of the synthesizer on all forms of modern music and culture with geek appeal for the music fan and synth fan alike.

From acid-house to prog-rock, there is no form of modern popular music that hasn’t been propelled forwards by the synthesizer. As a result they have long been objects of fascination, desire and reverence for keyboard players, music producers and fans of electronic music alike. Whether looking at an imposing modular system or posing with a DX7 on Top of the Pops, the synth has also always had an undeniable physical presence.

This book celebrates their impact on music and culture by providing a comprehensive and meticulously researched directory of every major synthesizer, drum machine and sampler made between 1963 and 1995. Each instrument is illustrated by hand, and shown alongside its vital statistics and some fascinatingly quirky facts. In tracing the evolution of the analogue synthesizer from its invention in the early 1960s to the digital revolution of the 1980s right up until the point that analogue circuits could be modelled using software in the mid-1990’s, the book tells the story of analogue to digital - and back again.


“When the author’s passion for synths combines with his artistic talent the result is a book with a difference. The hand-sketched illustration style sets this book apart helping turn the technical facts and figures into a visual feast insightfully embellished with interesting anecdotes. This book is a joy to look at and a delight to read.”
Sound On Sound magazine

“Like a Victorian botanist climbing mountains in search of a rare flower to sketch, Oli Freke tracks down scarce examples of synthesizers to lovingly sketch and share with the rest of us to marvel at. His collection is an essential bookshelf addition for the analogue obsessive.”
Electronic Sound magazine

“Such a fascinating survey of the synthesizer world, demonstrating a depth of passion that will amaze even the greatest synth-head.”
Benge (Expanding Records)

Oli Freke is a London based musician, artist and author who has had a life-long passion for analogue synthesizers and electronic music. He has spent twenty years in the music industry, variously supporting the Human League on tour with his electro band Cassette Electrik, writing music for television and recently seeing success with a string of dance tracks. His Synth Evolution posters, launched in 2017, have become a popular product among synth fans and he was commissioned to produce a version for the London Design Museum’s exhibition, Electronic - from Kraftwerk to Chemical Brothers in 2020.

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