Frank Trocco, Trevor Pinch
This book is a must-buy for any synth-fan or electronic music lover.
This book tells the history of the origin of the synthesizer. But it doesn’t just tell the dates and stories. Instead, it gives you insight into the people that built the first synthesizers. It gives you a feel for the times, and lets you understand why the early synthesizers would have seemed so trippy to the people of the 60’s.
The book focuses on the rise of Robert Moog and his synthesizers. The authors also discuss some of the other early synth pioneers, such as Donald Buchla and Alan Perlman. There are pictures of these pioneers, the early synthesizers, and the places that they were made.
Best of all, though, is the picture that the book paints of the times. It tells the stories of the first concerts that featured synthesizers, and how they were embraced by the hippy scene. There are some wonderful pictures included of fliers that were used to advertised early synth concerts…happenings in the lingo of the day!
The book also tells the stories of some of the earliest synth performers: Wendy Carlos, Pauline Oliveras, Keith Emerson, Beaver and Krause, Suzanne Ciani and others. By covering the instruments, the inventors, the times and the artists, the book shows why the synthesizer has evolved as it has.
The book is very readable…it’s tough to put down. While it is an accurate history the synthesizer, it is even more a picture of the times. Just like a Ken Burns documentary uses its subject matter, be it Baseball or the Civil War, to tell you about people and the greater forces of the times, Trocco and Pinch use the story of the synthesizer to discuss the fascinating characters and new ideas of a different time.