Preserving Vintage Music Magazines with mu:zines
Post date:Sun, 07/21/2019 - 07:15
Thanks to the internet we have begun taking it for granted that whatever information we need will always be just a few clicks away. There are millions of YouTube tutorials for everything from learning an instrument to working with a DAW. It is also easy to chat with like minded enthusiasts on forums to share information and tips with each other. However, long before we had access to these types of conveniences, there were magazines to fill this role. However, because these magazines were available before the internet was part of our daily life, most of the information that they contain were never made available online. Thankfully, thanks to the efforts of the mu:zines, there is now an effort to make the content of these magazines available online. It is a non-commercial, labour-of-love archive project that seeks to preserve the information from music magazines and present everything in an accessible, and searchable form. We decided to take a look at some of the magazines that mu:zines have available in their archives and highlight a few issues that will be of interest to vintage synth fans.
Years Active: 1975 -1991
The first issue of International Music and Recording World was launched in March of 1975 and the magazine continued to operate until 1991. Over the course of its 208 issues, the magazine also incorporated a few other magazines, including Electronic Soundmaker & What Keyboard as well as Zig Zag and One Two Testing. Apparently the reason for the magazine eventually folding was a lack of advertising funds, but during its heyday there were separate editions for different countries, such as Australia, Europe, Japan, and the United States. The mu:zines archive currently has almost 100 issues of the magazine, 8 of which has been OCR'd and is available, but more than 100 is still needed to complete the entire set. Some of the highlights include an interview with Keith Emerson and Robert Moog in the June 1975 issue.
Years Active: 1986 - 1994
Music Technology magazine had its first issue in November of 1986 after being re-branded from Electronics & Music Maker. It continued for 91 issues until May of 1994 when it was combined with Home and Studio Recording to become "The MIX." The mu:zines website has managed to track down all 91 issues of this publication and 81 of them are currently active on the site. Some of the many highlights include an interview with Frank Zapa in the February 1987 edition, where he talks about switching from guitar to Synclavier for composing. The August 1987 issue also has a nice article explaining wavetable synthesis, while the August 1988 issue features an interview with Jean Michel Jarre right before his Destination Docklands concert.
Years Active: 1985 - 1993 / 1994 - current
Sound on Sound magazine published their first issue in November of 1985 and has the distinction of being the only magazine featured in the mu:zines archive that is still active to this day. SOS Publications Ltd holds the copyright to this magazine and host their own digital archive on the Sound On Sound website (https://www.soundonsound.com/), but has granted mu:zines permission to republish the early issues that are not on the official website. The result is that mu:zines now hosts 56 early issues of the magazine with highlights that include an interview with Gary Numan in the August 1986 issue and a chat with the people behind the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the October 1987 issue.
Years Active: 1983 - 1985
The first issue of Electronic Soundmaker & Computer Music magazine was published in September of 1983 to compete with Electronics & Music Maker. This meant a focus on synth, drum machines and electronic music. Unfortunately, this magazine only ran for a couple of years before it was incorporated into International Musician & Recording World. Some of the highlights during its short run include an interview with Depeche Mode in the April 1984 issue as well as an in-depth, two part interview with Brian Eno starting in the October 1984 issue.
These are just a few highlights of the magazines available on the mu:zines website, as they also have issues of Home Studio Recording, The MIX, Recording Musician, Micro Music and others. The mu:zines website is also making use of crowd-sourcing to obtain issues that are missing from their archives, so if you have some vintage magazines gathering dust somewhere in a box, then get in touch with them and see if you can help with the preservation efforts. Also, let us know in the comments below or on the forum what your favorite source of information was back in the early days of synthesizers and music production.