Synthesizer Evolution

Oli Freke
From acid house to prog-rock, there is no form of modern popular music that hasn’t been propelled forward by the synthesizer.

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From acid house to prog-rock, there is no form of modern popular music that hasn’t been propelled forward 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.

Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue to Digital (and Back) 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 featured instrument is illustrated by hand and shown alongside its vital statistics and some fascinatingly quirky facts.

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-1990s, this book tells the story of synthesizers from analogue to digital – and back again.

Tracing that history and showing off their visual beauty with art-book quality illustrations, Synthesizer Evolution is a must for any self-respecting synth fan. The book has 128 pages, is 23cm x 17.4cm in size and printed on heavyweight 130gsm matt art paper.

Author Oli Freke says: “This book has grown out of a life-long obsession with synthesizers and electronic music, and it’s fantastic to be able to share this with my fellow synth obsessives and music fans who celebrate the synth’s role in modern music. I’m eternally grateful to Velocity Press for going with me on this journey and supporting the project so keenly.”


“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

“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

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

“Every tweak of a button, every plug of a wire, every minute detail examined on some of the most iconic synths ever made… its really geeky & strange, but its the bible on every great synthesizer behind all of your favourite songs.” Lotus Capo (Sony ATV Publishing)

Additional information

Weight 1 kg

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