Fascinating Pages from ’70s Electronic Music Magazine ‘Synapse’


A while back, we ran a post about the online archive of ’70s music mag Rock Scene, noting at the time that one of the best things about the internet is that there’s someone out there who’s religiously devoted to every conceivable niche interest. In a similar vein, this morning we stumbled across a newly scanned archive of ’70s electronic music magazine Synapse, and it’s absolutely fascinating. We’re pretty sure Synapse must have been the first magazine in this vein (although do let us know if we’re wrong!), and the 12 issues available online include features on luminaries like Eno, Robert Moog, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, along with articles on then-cutting edge technology and how to build various pieces of kit with parts from Radio Shack. We’ve collected some choice excerpts after the jump — the entire archive, including larger images of the pages below, can be found here.

Vol 1, Issue 3, September/October 1976: “A Conversation with Ralph Hutter and Florian Schneider.” Back when Kraftwerk still did interviews!

Vol 1, Issue 3, September/October 1976: “Build a Seven-Stage Frequency Divider.” Looks completely straightforward, eh? Why, we might just whip one up this afternoon.

Vol 1, Issue 4, November/December 1976: Reviews page. “Polyphonic systems are suddenly the hottest new trend in synthesizer design.”

Vol 1, Issue 5, January/February 1977: “What To Do Until The 4-Track Arrives.” An article on how to do multi-track recording with a cheap tape deck, which rather puts into perspective how spoiled we are these days with GarageBand. “A 4-track recorder with sync is a wonderful device… but the price tag puts them out of the reach of many people.”

Vol 2, Issue 1, May/June 1977: An article on buying your first synthesizer! “Prices may range from about $500 to several thousands.”

Vol 2, Issue 2, July/August 1977: Regular “computers” page, featuring an article on analogue to digital conversion. Note the four-bit sine curve — Crystal Castles would be proud.

Vol 2, Issue 3, November/December 1977: Karlheinz Stockhausen interview. Wow.

Vol 3, Issue 1, Janary/February 1979: An article on the use of “microcomputers” in music. “The most exciting event looming on the horizon of electronic music is the impending shift from analog electronics to digital and digital/analog hybrids.” Quite.

Vol 3, Issue 1, January/February 1979: The prized Eno interview, complete with illustration. Notice the byline, ’90s MTV fans.

Vol 3, Issue 2: Reviews page. A review of the Korg VC-10 vocoder. “Although vocoders are most often associated with talking, very interesting results are attained by singing into the microphone.”