Album Review of
Summer Synthesis 1978

Written by Robert Silverstein
May 30, 2020 - 4:11pm EDT
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Looking back on the late 1970’s, at that time the entire electronic music scene was blossoming world wide. Some say that electronic instrumental rock was developed in Europe yet, following in the footsteps of the groundbreaking work of Americans like Robert Moog and Wendy Carlos, there were other artists that sadly slipped through the sonic cracks of time and space. Looking back with 2020 hindsight, one such artist is Drew Schlesenger. Drew was a forerunner of the electronic music scene going back to the mid 1970s. The year was 1978, which was possibly the greatest year in the history of the world. For that one moment in time, there wasn’t anything impossible in music anymore and in many ways that frozen year remains indelible and iconic. Perhaps if you want to score a good soundtrack for a story or a movie of 1978, look no further than Summer Synthesis 1978 by the duo of Drew Schlesinger & David Torn. He would go onto become a world-renowned electric guitarist that has recorded with a variety of record labels, yet back in the summer of 1978, Torn was very much into the then revolutionary sounding ARP Avatar guitar synthesizer and true to form, this album is a cornucopia of guitar synth music at its best. Combining the multitasking Torn, adding his processed guitar and other guitar treatments with Drew’s synths, programming, keyboards and treatments, the 14-track, 78 minute all instrumental CD was engineered and mixed by Drew with Torn adding mastering. So, why now release an album of electronic synth wizardry and pioneering guitar innovations that was never released in 1978? The sound is excellent and Summer Synthesis 1978 shines a light on Torn’s nascent guitar styles that in coming years would win him world acclaim while also shining a light on Drew as a veritable e-music forerunner that wisely chose a collaborator on what turned out to be a long, lost artifact of the electronic music world. Drew went on to work in the keyboard design world as well as all forms of programming that are currently in use on the internet, something which, of course, was only a pipe dream back in 1978, only back then, we didn’t miss it at all.