The pretty little volume Synthesizer Evolution by Oli Freke is published by Velocitypress. This small publisher specializes in books on modern musical styles, among other things, which appear at irregular intervals.
The volume in A5 format and softcover binding offers 125 pages with a compact overview of the synthesizer history in the form of device descriptions.
These are divided into the chapters Synthesizers, Drum Machines, Samplers and Premodern Instruments, which are listed alphabetically by manufacturer ordered list containing their related
Models up to the 1990s are presented briefly. Each device – with modular approached as the whole system – assigns a name entry with the year of its introduction. This is supplemented by special illustrations, the Mr. Freke as hand-drawn portraits of the devices
realized. Unfortunately these drawings are so small in size Two-column theorem reproduces that one actually has only one recognizable picture impression. About little known synthesizer there is hardly more information then how many octaves the keyboard covered and how the panel was basically designed.
This is followed by a short description with keywords for the synthesis principle, e.g. Additive synthesis in the Kawai K5, the polyphony and voice building. Usually one more sentence closes lost to the special features or construction variants and that is it in most cases.
For better known companies there are also brief paragraphs on their history and significance, independent of their individual devices. Overall this is one pleasingly complete catalog of classic synthesizers of the last century including some rarities that never really hit the market. However, if you need it for more in-depth information, one should possible refer to other sources..
This book is certainly a recommendation for collectors, but we doubt if beginners will find what they expect.