Synthesiser Information Sources
As dedicated synthesists and electro-music enthusiasts know, the acquisition of information relating to synthesisers, synthesiser recordings and synthesiser publications has never been easy. Even during the past few years when electronic music was beginning to achieve a wider popularity, it was still difficult to gather information about different types of synthesisers and to obtain any of the less-popular synthesiser recordings and to find books and magazines about the subject.
Even now, when electro-music can be heard everywhere, the seeker of information can still be stumped when trying to find the best synthesiser for a particular need or when trying to track down an elusive recording or publication.
Seeing still such a gap in public knowledge, two organisations have developed aiming to supply such information and help, too, the development and promotion of electronic music.
The Electronic Synthesiser Sound Projects (E.S.S.P.) library began in 1970 with Kaleidoscopic Vibrations by Jean Jaques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley, and has since collected all commercially released synthesiser recordings in the U.K., including many international titles and private productions.
In 1979 a Network and Distribution centre was set up to provide an information service and mail-order facility for the supply of synthesiser records, books and accessories. If you send them your name and address you will automatically be linked to the Network and will receive all information as it is prepared. The E.S.S.P. Information service and Library will answer any queries free of charge (SAE required) providing no costs are incurred due to photocopying or special research.
Three information lists are produced, regularly up-dated, covering best-selling, new release and recommended titles as follows: List 1 - Electronic, Computer, Synthesiser sound recordings - which includes records and tapes of such recordings including those using synthesisers as main instruments; List 2 - Electronic, Computer, Synthesiser sound publications - consists of books and magazines on the subject; List 3 - Extra Sensory sound recordings - these are more nearly 100% synthesiser and electronic music recordings including experimental / meditation / transformative music. The Distribution centre is able to supply most records, tapes and accessories and will try to obtain items not on their lists.
Their E.S.S.P. Synthesis label is for the promotion and distribution of electro-music and they will listen to your recordings and review them. They have the facilities to release and distribute such recordings. This should hopefully open new doors to many new synthesists as well as providing a source of new material.
Their Studio has extensive facilities for lectures and demonstrations and their range of services and facilities has grown considerably in a short time. "In the future," says David Tuffnell of E.S.S.P., "we would like to see Synthesiser programmes on every radio station, Synthesiser shops in every town and village, and Sound Houses all over the world for demonstration and educational promotion. That's the vision anyway!"
Zero Zone, based in Somerset, began in May last year, initially to provide an information service and to give unbiased advise to people wanting to know about synthesisers. From this evolved the idea of doing live workshops so people could get hands on experience of synthesisers. These workshops have been very successful and are free to any organisation requesting them; the only cost being expenses for transport etc.
Zero Zone's information service includes advice on the best synthesiser for a particular purpose and can advise on suitable sounds for almost any need. Information is available on recent computerised keyboards and their programming service will program them for you.
Theatre sound effects are produced to order using instruments and an extensive library of sound effects. The advice service includes a full range of synthesiser books and reference materials. In conjunction with E.S.S.P., they provide a complete products service for books, manuals and programming planning sheets for synthesisers, computers and electronic music.
A recent development is their Independent Synthesiser Recording Distribution Network (ISRDN) which is to help those who produce privately or independently recorded synthesiser material to obtain wider distribution of their work. It is a unique co-operative effort which could be of enormous benefit to all concerned. Help is available, too, regarding artwork and printing and efforts are underway to acquire cassette duplicating facilities.
Zero Zone is still developing its organisation and will grow to be increasingly useful to the synthesist. It actively promotes the development of electronic music in all its forms and is particularly interested in setting up an experimental music group.
The need for such services as provided by E.S.S.P. and Zero Zone has been around for a long time and is a possible source of information for anyone with queries or problems in obtaining records, etc., in the electronic music field.
For further details and information send a SAE either to: David Tuffnell, Electronic Synthesiser Sound Projects, (Contact Details); or to: Michael Law, Zero Zone, (Contact Details).
Feature by Ian Waugh
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