Before the advent of the analog synthesizer and drum machine, one-man bands tended to almost exclusively be found firmly in folk-rock territory; just a man or a woman and a guitar, vocals, and the occasional harmonica. Synths helped to change that, though, as one person could record an entire album using the vast array of sounds and beats that were programmed on their new devices. Entire albums could be recorded using just a few synthesizers - from the completely raw DIY aesthetic of Transparent Illusion to the tuneful minimalist synthpop of John Foxx.
Steve Braun was one such one-man band. He self-released this 7" on his own Universe Records in 1982 as a demo to send around to labels and record companies, never really distributing more than a few hundred copies. He played virtually everything on this record, which is nearly exclusively electronic (except for a short sax interlude and live drums on side B). Musically, his songs are extremely redolent of early Gary Numan (although his vocals are more similar to Philip Oakley of Human League). If Braun and Numan did not know each other before this 7" was released, this record certainly caught Gary's ear, as the synthpop star and Braun later joined forces to create Numa Records. Braun even released a 12" on that label some years later.
If decidedly lo-fi and minimal one-man synthpop is at all appealing to you, then you'll want to check out this obscurity!
Steve Braun's Universe: Out To Play 7"
1982, Universe Records
A1 Out to Play
B1 Red Light Districts