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Synergy - Cords CD (album) cover




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3.98 | 34 ratings

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5 stars I've been listening to this work on and off since November of 1978 (my original copy was on clear vinyl) and I refamiliarized myself with the recording, on CD, after Larry Fast's "Phobos and Deimos Go to Mars" showed up on Tony Levin's 2002 release, "Pieces of the Sun." There is depth found on this album, but it is no way "easy listening!"

To me, the music on Cords holds up in today's crazy, terrorist-riddled world even better than it did at the height of the disco era. Fast's compositions have an edge, they are both challenging and satisfying once you get the gist of where Fast is going.

The recordning opens with "On Presuming to be Modern I." The thing with Larry Fast's work is not to listen to it as music that will transport the listener into a physical setting or environment. Fast's compositions are more like sonic mappings of social processes. They involve a level of abstraction that not everyone will get. This song, for example, should be listened to as a history, it's music rises and falls in a way that parallels that of society's rises and falls; perhaps mimicking how a society can grow haughty in thinking itself to be "refined, mature and in control," when in fact, it is not. The long resolution and ultimate fade out uses what sounds like sirens (of warning?) and repeated triple beats of an electronic tympany, until it all comes to rest, and gives up the ghost.

"Phobos and Diemos Go to Mars" is one of the strongest set of tracks on the recording. The rhythms are complex; listen to the interaction of chime-like sounds with the underlying beat coupled with the variation of stereo source location and it is quite an amazing construct, all the way through both Martian Moon tracks. The version on Levin's album is just as exciting (and just as faithful - it must've been hard for Fast to get four or five other musicians to come to understand this piece of music and perform it well). This is not a song you want to play for your girlfriend, this is rather serious stuff.

"Sketches of Mythical Beasts" starts off with a string-like and beautiful background, complete with phase-shifting, with a layer of a metallic oboe sound wending its way sonorously throughout. At times it's almost disconcerting, but Fast brings resolution to what sounds like is going to be audio chaos, in brilliant ways, via key changes that were a step ahead of anything Dave Stewart (of UK and Bill Bruford fame) might later do.

I could continue by going through track-by-track, but you probably get the gist of it. The music is a social commentary, very realistic and it holds no punches. Yes, sometimes scary, sometimes uplifting. But that's life; its not always smooth and predictable. Synergy's Cords is an attempt to get the world's attention that we can't keep going on the way we have. In my opinion, this prophetic music (e.g., listen for the Arabian Scales and musical references in the track "Disruption in World Communications" and ask yourself, is this a track that could be used as a soundtrack for the Twin Towers falling?). Larry Fast was almost 25 years ahead of his time for sonically predicting where the cold war "Modern World" was heading.

To me, this is an amazing recording. Its not just progressive; its prophetic. The whole thing conveys the same dark social themes, scary as they are. We're not that far off. Five stars.

macpurity1 | 5/5 |


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