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Synergy - Audion CD (album) cover




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3.80 | 24 ratings

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4 stars Synergy's masterful "Audion" is fully deserving of all the electro accolades, whether sequenced or not, that an electronic-prog album can ever hope to garner. Certainly not as exuberant as Schulze, Tangerine Dream or Ashra, Larry Fast is sort of an Eno like sound craftsman instead of your classic soloing maestro, and his resumé reads like a prog's whose who: Peter Gabriel, Nektar, Tony Levin Group, Synergy and a score of non-prog artists. But just reading the credits on this seminal 1981 album gives you an idea with whom he was innovating: Moog Music, Sequential Circuits, PAiA & Apple computers, Deltalab Research, Eventide Clockworks, Oberheim and 360 Systems. Today's techno gurus were yesterday's neophyte nerds when software was really "soft" and hardware was, er.. well you get the message.Listening to this 17 years later, I cannot help acknowledging that this recording was way before its time , a Jules Verne-like glimpse into the future that reveals an incredible vision that deserves massive applause (your choice, analog or digital). From the extraordinary cover art to the entire 10 visceral sci-fi compositions, this is primal first rate synthesizer playing in a style that is ultimately warmer than you may realize, at a time when this brand of music was pilloried by the ignorant masses as cold and soulless (????). From the swirling opener "Orbit Five", the main melody is transcended by synthesized percussion that was again light years ahead in terms of programming and tone ("Revolt at L-5"), with ominous crisscrossing guard tower leads weaving an image of futuristic prison break, alarms ringing, unruly androids vying for escape and control boxes gone haywire. The somber "Terminal Hotel" certainly evokes a futuristic journey's inn, with supple translucent mattresses hanging in no gravity area bubbles, where room services supplies "squeeze me" tubes of sushi & udon soufflés or teriyaki mahi-mahi to the weary interstellar space travelers. "Electric Blue" is a placid electronic lullaby that swings in sequenced ecstasy, trance-like explorations of the outer realms of the cosmos. The colliding rhythmic synths are almost symphonic and certainly lead to reverential contemplation. "Ancestors" has been a favorite of mine for decades, a synthesized flute patch solo leading the massed strings in a crescendo of computerized orchestral beauty, a musical look back at history's contribution to the advancement of technology. "After the Earthquake" is, despite its rather cataclysmic title, a rather optimistic hymn of hope, with sweeping fanfare keyboard arrangements that are closer to the Enid than, say Kraftwerk. Even though only computerized equipment was used, this music remains sizzling, warm in its numerous inflections and structure, with an almost classical music compositional style. "Falcons & Eagles" and "Flight of the Looking Glass" both veer into this almost totally neo-classical zone where you almost wonder when the cellos are going to kick in, aided and abetted by timpani! Not my preferred tracks, a little too Wagnerian for me, to be honest. "Shibolet" is a playful and bouncy little space ditty, full of weightless bravura, cosmically medieval as if were some kind of stellar pavane with the lead synthesizer imitating the krumhorns of the Middle Ages. An amazingly creative celestial gem. "An End to History" is another rather gloom and doom title that perhaps prefers to lament the lack of inspiration from the past, instead of ushering in some apocalyptic message of universal extinction. This is serious experimental music that was perhaps misunderstood then by most but not by all. Not an essential prog masterpiece but a crucial cornerstone of any electro- prog collection. 4.5 swirly asteroids
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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