Synergy — Metropolitan Suite
(Voiceprint VP303CD, 1987/2003, CD)
Synergy — Semiconductor, Release 2
(Voiceprint VP302CD, 1984/2003, 2CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 1999-04-01
In 1986, the first era of Synergy releases came to an end with Metropolitan Suite, which in some ways is the culmination of Larry Fast’s original musical vision. That does not make it necessarily the most successful, or even the best, but it does represent the distillation of his musical style. For all his electronic innovation, Fast is at heart a neo-classicist – his compositions owe more to Beethoven or even Gershwin than to Varèse. In the liner notes, Fast describes taking “detailing and orchestration” inspired by the architecture of New York in the early 1900s and interpreting them with modern electronic tools. Echoes of the Jazz Age and Copland’s Americana abound in the grandiose themes. This new version presents all the big sounds with stunning clarity and great dynamic range.
Semiconductor was a collection released in 1984 representing the best of Larry Fast’s Synergy recordings to date, starting with 1975’s Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra and ending with The Jupiter Menace soundtrack in 1982. When it came time to remaster the old Synergy releases, Fast wisely decided to expand the collection to include work through Metropolitan Suite, summing up the era nicely. He also added an edit from one of the long ambient pieces from Computer Experiments Vol.1 and arranged the pieces in chronological order. For anyone curious about one of the true pioneers of electronic music, I can think of no better introduction. From the lush textures of Realizations through the rhythmic energy of Cords, all the best is represented here. As with all the Synergy remasters, Fast provides extensive liner notes full of juicy technical details.
Related artist(s): Larry Fast (Synergy)
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more