Chapter Music presents a vinyl reissue of Melbourne post-punk icon David Chesworth’s pioneering 1979 debut 50 Synthesizer Greats.
Self-released on no label, 50 Synthesizer Greats was actually 37 tracks of minimal synth investigations, full of inquisitive humour and playful experimental spirit. The album was recorded in late 1978 by David in his parents’ lounge room, on an Akai 4000 DS reel to reel tape machine, using a monophonic Mini Korg 700 synth borrowed from fellow post-punk icons Tsk Tsk Tsk.
Bouncing down tracks via the Akai‘s primitive “sound-on-sound” feature resulted in unexpected echo effects and tricky mono vs stereo choices, while snatches of the earlier recordings David taped over to make 50 Synths can still be spotted here and there throughout the album.
David was only 21 when 50 Synths was made, but his energy and accomplishments were already prodigious. With guitarist Robert Goodge he formed the much-loved Essendon Airport (check out Chapter’s reissues of 1979’s Sonic Investigations Of the Trivial and 1981’s Palimpsest). He became co-ordinator of renowned experimental music venue the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre (name-checked on this album), and founded the Innocent Records label with Tsk Tsk Tsk leader Philip Brophy, engineering or producing much of its output.
Chesworth’s late 70s/early 80s records and productions have become hugely sought after collectors’ items and DJ holy grails, across his solo work, Essendon Airport, Whadya Want, Chocolate Grinders, the Dave & Phil Duo and other projects. He has since become a renowned contemporary classical composer and sound artist, commissioned to create a sound installation for the Sydney Olympics and represented in the 2015 Venice Biennale with partner Sonia Leber.
50 Synthesizer Greats is where it all began for David Chesworth, and remains one of his most engaging and remarkable works. The remastered album is reissued with liner new notes and photos from David Chesworth himself, plus two digital-only bonus tracks. Of the 13 tracks that couldn‘t fit onto the original 1979 album, sadly only one has survived and is presented here, alongside a recently unearthed 11 minute opus from 1979, recorded on a massive Serge Modular Synthesizer.