The musical possibilities offered up by synthesizers are limitless, yet a select few artists intuitively understand how to harness them better than others. In rendering distinctive qualities from their machines – and often being distinctive characters themselves – they attained notoriety for their fearsome power.
This assemblage of the elite span seven decades of expertise and experimentation, comprising stoned stargazers, funk fantasists and accidental acid alchemists alike. Musicians that glide over their equipment with a feather-touch stand alongside those that hammer out dense sounds from theirs. Some stalk the forests, other travel the spaceways. Their variety speaks to the expanse of potential nestled between the wires.
Alongside illustrations from Paul Paetzel, writers Chal Ravens, Laura Aha, Ruth Saxelby, Lauren Martin and Gabriel Szatan have journeyed to the Hall of Justice, and returned to separate the heroic from the humble. No matter their background or skillset, all 15 here are standouts in the annals of synth music.
Header image © Paul Paetzel