Here’s something you hopefully already know: Australia is a country and a continent. But hey, think about that for a sec; Down Under’s double-duty means a whole lot of un(der)heard music. Like David Chesworth’s 50 Synthesizer Greats, for example. Unusual, innovative, and accessible, its original self-released edition is also rare and expensive, making it the sort of album post-punk archeologists salivate over. On March 31, it gets a deserved vinyl and digital reissue by Chapter Music.
Well, first off, not 50 but 37, though this reissue’s digital-only bonus tracks spread the total to 39. Furthermore, the initial title 50 Synthisizer Greats has been corrected. If all this resonates a little like undisciplined goofing around, as explained in the label’s background text, 50 cuts were recorded but wouldn’t all fit on a single slab of vinyl. Of the 13 extra tracks, only one survives, presented here in tandem with a subsequent long piece from ’79 using a Serge Modular Synthesizer. Overall, the results connect as serious but not stern as the LP + extras sit at the beginning of a long and varied career.
Chesworth might be better known to Aussie underground mavens as a member of Essendon Airport. Formed in ’78 with guitarist Robert Goodge, they later grew to a five piece; an expanded reissue of their 1981 LP Palimpsest and the retrospective collection Sonic Investigations of the Trivial are both still available through Chapter Music. Alongside Philip Brophy, with whom he co-founded Innocent Records in 1979, Chesworth also took part in Chocolate Grinders, the Dave & Phil Duo, and → ↑ → (aka Tsk Tsk Tsk or Tch Tch Tch).
Some of → ↑ → and Essendon Airport’s activity has squeaked out on compilations over the years, e.g. Chapter Music’s Can’t Stop It! Australian Post-Punk 1978-82 and its follow-up volume, Laughing Outlaw Records’ Inner City Sound, Shame File Music’s Artefacts of Australian Experimental Music Volume II 1974–1983, and most recently the Efficient Space label’s Midnite Spares, a set that also includes a track by Chesworth’s project Whadya Want? It appears that Chocolate Grinders and the Dave & Phil Duo have yet to be anthologized.