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Synergy - Electronic Realizations For Rock Orchestra CD (album) cover




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4.12 | 55 ratings

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5 stars I am so glad to see that Synergy is part of the progarchives!

Larry Fast is one of my all-time favorite musicians and all around nice guy. I've corresponded with him on several occasions and not once did he fail to respond with kind and thoughtful messages. I guess you can say that for me there is a nostalgic element to Synergy“s music.

ERFRO is a classic in the genre of electronic symphonic prog and one of the records that“s had the most influence in my personal life. Certainly, ERFRO is Synergy's best known work, but not necessarily Fast's best(please see my review of Metropolitan Suite).

Although Tomita and Wendy Carlos beat Larry to the punch with their own renditions of orchestral synth works, this Synergy release made the genre much more accessible. In fact, I first listened to this record when I was 13 years old and I was immediately hooked on synthesizers from that point forward. Shortly after becoming a serious Synergy fan I began dabbling with eletronic circuits and synthesis. A few months after graduating college as an electrical engineer I built my first MIDI studio and twenty years later I am still involved with synthesizers and studio production. I credit Larry Fast for getting me started on something that has changed my life in so many ways.

ERFRO is a recording that will most likely appeal to serious synth fans and those that value classical orchestration and movie soundtracks. If your music MUST have guitars, or riffs to tap your foot to, then stay away from this Synergy release. In fact, on some of Larry“s liner notes he emphatically stated that "no guitars were used on this recording".

Many parallels can be drawn between Synergy and artists like Vangelis, Tomita and Carlos. Although each were a one man/woman studio act that capitalized on bombastic synth creations, Synergy's earlier work, such as ERFRO, is differentiated by a nervous and quirky compositional approach. This can be seen as a detriment by some listeners who'll quickly dismiss the music as schizophrenic and directionless. For instance, ERFRO, in contrast with Vangelis' work from the same period Heaven and Hell, is not as dramatic or emotional. Where Vangelis calmly worked a theme and explored its softer tonal side, Fast is not as patient when elaborating on a theme. Fast will jump from one theme to the next relatively unannounced and will tend to use some abrasive, angular patches to accentuate his hits and crescendos. That being said, I don't believe that any of that detracts from the compositions on ERFRO. It's simply a matter of the composer's personal taste and inspiration. I HIGHLY disagree with those who say that the synth sounds on this release are "dated". On the contrary! The synths patches on this record are CLASSIC ANALOG. Ironically enough, over the past decade an analog resurgence has erupted and some of the patches we hear on ERFRO are being replicated by soft synth vendors. It's not unusual to find a soft synth with a patch named "Synergy" or "Cords" and sounding very much like one of Larry's own creations.

Quoting Larry's own word about this record: "....(ERFRO) gives a little insight into what I was planning at the beginning of my recording career." If we follow Synergy's progression we clearly see how Larry built upon ERFRO and subsequent releases were a more refined approach to the same formula: Symphonic electronic prog using cutting edge technology. (Note: Larry built some of the instruments and effects that were used on ERFRO, such as the Galvanic Skin Response Voltage Controller).

I had to think long and hard about the rating that I would give to this recording. Specially knowing that it is one of my personal favorites of all-time. It's difficult for me not to give this record five stars. First, for it's place in symphonic electronic prog history and second because it was very much a bleeding edge project when it was released. Has it stood up to the test of time? It certainly has!

I will give this record FIVE STARS, but with this caveat: ERFRO should not be considered an essential recording for all proggers. But it should be essential only for those who are serious fans of synth music and its historical roots.

jrfernan | 5/5 |


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