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ELECTRONIC REALIZATIONS FOR ROCK ORCHESTRA

Synergy

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greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This record is a perfect exhibition of structured & futuristic keyboards arrangements in a melodic, catchy & contemporary classical manner. There are TONS of miscellaneous keyboards producing VERY melodic, symphonic and fluid classical textures; even the sequencers are melodic and never sound repetitive! The tracks are REALLY progressive and amazingly CATCHY. The whole album can easily be uninterruptedly listened. For 1975, the musical genre of this masterpiece was a real breakthrough. The comparison with Tomita is inevitable: Larry Fast is much more structured and serious here, and his tracks form a denser texture, also being less nervous and childish. However, the 2 keyboardists' instruments are quite comparable. The keyboards amazingly emulate miscellaneous instruments: oboe, violins, flutes, trumpets and bells, among others. The amateurs of floating mellotron should not be disappointed here. The fast symphonic part near the end of "Warriors" sounds a bit like on the Wendy Carlos' "Clockwork orange" album. Only the "Synergy" track is less catchy, sounding more futuristic than symphonic. This record is definitely the Synergy's best record.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#53745)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Very inspirational that Greenback reviewed Synergy (AKA Larry Fast) albums, this innovative music musician certainly deserves a place on Prog Archives. For those who have the opinion that electronic instruments don't evoke emotion, listen to Larry Fast on Peter Gabriel his wonderful and emotional composition "Biko", what a compelling keyboard sound, almost tearjerking!

This re-issued and re-mastered CD release (originally a LP from 1975) sounds great, for me it's one of the highlights of electronic music, along with some Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze albums. Larry Fast uses among other things a Minimoog, an Oberheim Expander Module, a Mellotron M400 (that 'white furniture'), an Oberheim DS-2 Digital Sequencer and a Musictronics Phase Shifter. The music alternates from classically inspired (a bit similar to The Enid) featuring a wide range of classical instruments (played by the keyboards) to mid-tempo electronic rock (exciting fat synthesizer flights) and spacey electronic with a very lush sound (wonderful soaring strings). The track "Synergy" is a very spectacular one (with hints from Vangelis) delivering a bombastic atmosphere with a sensational sequencer sound and flashy synthesizer runs.

A MASTERPIECE, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO ALL ELECTRONIC MUSIC AFICIONADOS!!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#53775)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars The sound on "Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra" is really dated, in comparison to many other seventies electronic albums (T.D, K.S, J-M.J, etc). I was quite disapointed, since I'm a big fan of old school synth. The lack of depth makes it's character a bit light-weight. I think this is an interesting album anyway, because it's not a typical seventies synth ambient/spacy album. If you want to try something different within electronic prog you may want to check this one out, but if you're new to this genre I recommend you try Software "Chip Meditation 2", Tangerine Dream "Phaedra", J-M-Jarre "Oxygene"/"Equinoxe". When listening to these you will definitely want to explore more in this genre.

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Send comments to 1971 (BETA) | Report this review (#65729)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The best Synergy album, closer to Progressive Electronic (the other are closer to ambient, I think). Larry Fast, who collaborated with many other artist, including Peter Gabriel, exposes in this album five good themes: "Legacy", the best in my opinion, with an electronic and emotive motive; "Slaughter on tenth avenue", with a "bad" tittle, but very interesting (in a part of the theme it seems classical music!); "Synergy" and "Relay Breakdown", worse in my opinion, but however very good and 100% electronic; and "Warriors", an epic theme. A fantastic album with a beautiful cover. Note: it doesn't sound like Brian Eno, it's not ambient music, is more interesting electronic prog.

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Send comments to komun (BETA) | Report this review (#94614)
Posted Sunday, October 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to jrfernan (BETA) | Report this review (#94752)
Posted Monday, October 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album by Larry Fast's SYNERGY was released at time when people were so curious about further development and exploration of electronic music, based on keyboard. Bob Moog was the on ewho invented the instrument - but that's not the point, people were really waiting for what the instrument could contribute to the sound of rock music. Keith Emerson was one but was there anyone took different approach in electronic music making? No one could answer that question at the time. SYNERGY came out with a mind-boggling album title "Electronic Realizations For Rock Orchestra". WOW! It really astonished those who love rock music. How would it sound like, an orchestra but being played by electronic equipment? Could not believe it at the time.

Having those clouds at the time, I did not think twice to purchase the cassette version of this album. At the time I purchased it, I was already familiar with Keith Emerson works, Rick Wakeman , so I had something to compare to. Oh yeah, the music of this SYNERGY album blew me away at first listen. BOOM! I did like it and enjoyed it very much. I was so proud having this album in my collection while my rock mates did not have it. Not only scarcity that mattered, actually. But, the fact the music was quite unique was really making me proud of it. There was a lot of pulsating keyboard work in multi-layered style and sometime in its complex form. The music is so dynamic and it blends avant-garde exploration of electronic devices plus segments that reminds me to the work of Rick Wakeman.

The beauty of this album is that whenever you finish it, you want to keep repeating over time. It's quite enjoyable - especially for those of you who love keyboard explorations. You may want to explore also with SYMPHONIC SLAM. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#127405)
Posted Tuesday, July 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing album. Classic music in a electronic orchestra that made this work one of my favourites. I don't really apreciate electronic music, just some Tangerine Dream albuns and Kluster works but this is different. This album create a classic atmosphere when we can imagine all classic instruments but with a electronic sound and music is very balanced and I like all atmosphere. We have a great work in this album and lot of music context's to explore. Amazing how in 70 decade, Synergy create this music with this electronic quality and sound. Great album and great stuff. I give five stars because to me, this is one of most important progressive electronic work ever made. Please listen and recomended to all like electronic progressive music. To me, the most progressive electronic music.

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Send comments to João Paulo (BETA) | Report this review (#231307)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars Synthesizers back in 1975 were a different animal than what we see today. One did not just his a button and get a sound. There were knobs, sliders, patch panels (I know Keith Emerson's Moog was a bit extreme, but you get the idea) that all affected the sound. And the majority of these could only play one note at a time. So artists like Walter/Wendy Carlos, Tomita, and the like did not have an easy task making their albums.

Larry Fast, recording as "Synergy" deserves mention with those other synth pioneers. His albums, at least at the beginning, were perfect examples of what could be done with synths at the time. Sure, they sound a little dated, but the instrument was still in it's infancy.

This, the first album by Fast, remains a classic of synth albums. His compositions here tend toward light classical, with only a hint of rock. And while he tries to get the essence of an orchestra, he does not try to fully imitate the instruments. And that gives the album a futuristic (in 1975) feel.

And although Fast's own pieces are good, the highlight is his fantastic rendition of Richard Rogers' Slaughter On Tenth Avenue. This famous piece has still never sounded this delicious.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#490053)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Larry Fast's debut synergy album claims to be for "rock orchestra", but don't be fooled into thinking of string sections full of guitarists and percussion sections full of budding Keith Moons - instead, the entire album is delivered through the medium of Fast's synthesisers. Playing in a fast, light classical style which draws on the symphonic greats without slavishly reinterpreting the same limited set of standards so many prog keyboardists had worn to death with their electronic arrangements, the overall effect is of the orchestral music of the future - a future given birth to via a Moog.

It's on the strength of this album that Larry was brought in to make key contributions to Nektar's Recycled, lending that album its unique prog-cyberpunk sound. At the same time, it does feel rather a bit like a demonstration of the technical capabilities of the latest generation of synthesisers rather than a sincere artistic statement at points, and on the whole I find Larry Fast's work as a sideman to Nektar or Peter Gabriel somewhat more compelling than this solo work.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1136235)
Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 | Review Permalink

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