Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Synergy - Cords CD (album) cover



Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Cords" is a cold symphonic New Age album. It contains VERY artificial electronic keyboards! It sounds like if you are in front of a contemporary music orchestra that plays for you classical moods, but the difference is that everything is pure keyboards, giving an extremely cold atmosphere...Brrrrrrr! My vinylic record is translucid white and it gives me the feeling that I hold an ice plate while listening to it! It sounds a bit like Tomita minus the clinical sounds, but at least Tomita is able to be funny and warm.

The tracks are fully loaded of dynamic keyboards, and, when played loud, it gives you a pretty scary feeling! Larry Fast here is still very symphonic, but the airs do not enough retain my attention, maybe because there are too many experimental elements included and also because he definitely removed most of the melodic sequencers he used to play on the previous records. This album is not for the timid who likes quiet, delicate & mellow songs.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Report this review (#53747)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#88625)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Chords is one release of a natural progression of improvement and increasingly more complex experimental projects. Chords is still fresh and imaginative. Each composition is inventive and exciting. To better understand and appreciate Larry Fast's Synergy project, specifically Chords, a few general remarks are in order. Larry Fast's electronic compositions are not and never were "New Age" music. He is one of many fine pioneers in electronic synthesizer music. Larry has worked with numerous progressive rock musician greats, notably Rick Wakeman & Peter Gabriel, as his biography (available through this website) states. A good listener can appreciate the experimental nature of Fast's work. The most likely reason Synergy gets categorized incorrectly is likely due to a relative narrowness and ignorance of newer and newer marketing teams about what the music is all about; a kind of mistake anyone can make, except younger people can be temporally provincial in their judgments and may not do much homework. There is often no substitute for being there when it was happening. Another victim that comes to mind: site works from Tangerine Dream out of the 70's. It is also difficult to resist the temptation to extend the hypothesis that perhaps the record company many have simply tried to sift through their "old" recordings, looking for something to remarket to a possibly naïve consumer niche. In any case, it is probably too hopeful to expect many of today's CD stores to really understand all their wares, except those that attract the most attention. An old story.
Report this review (#113332)
Posted Friday, February 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Out of the scads of electronic music albums that peppered the entire '70s, none moved me quite like the third Synergy album, Cords. Unlike his previous one (Sequencer), Larry Fast, a/k/a Synergy, had a full album's worth of terrific material this time. Plus, having worked closely with Peter Gabriel on several PG albums and on the road, Fast incorporated much Gabriel-esque inspiration and invention into this project - Gabriel, I believe, also put the titles on all the tracks here.

The first Synergy album usually gets the most acclaim; well deserved, too. But Cords shows a melodic maturity only hinted at on that initial album. And it is indeed melodies that sets Synergy apart from literally 95% of other '70s electronic artists - no confusing Synergy with Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream, that's for sure! Beautiful, sweeping and soaring compositions with clearcut beginnings, middles and endings. And LOTS of mellotron quite seamlessly threaded into the compositions, I should point out. The sparingly used electronic percussion is perhaps the most dated aspect of most Synergy projects, however even that's so big in the whole sonic swirl here that you don't really pick up on its late '70s recording date.

The original Passport release of this came out on clear vinyl which, although it looked pretty cool, sure didn't sound that way after a few plays. The CD, now deleted (of course), sounds quite good and is well worth a thorough search if you're up for it.

Essential listening for me. Five stars, easy.

Report this review (#205504)
Posted Thursday, March 5, 2009 | Review Permalink

SYNERGY Cords ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of SYNERGY Cords

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.