Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra

Synergy

1975

Obscurometer:


In 1974-75, the analog synthesizer, and in particular the MiniMoog, could do no wrong.  Catapulted into the public eye thanks to records like Kraftwerk’s Autobahn and songs like Pink Floyd’s epic Shine On You Crazy Diamond (part 6), it seemed as if a monster was unleashed.  One person ideally poised to capitalise was Larry Fast, who combined his interest in computer science and classical music to become Synergy.

What separates Fast from all the other knob twiddlers is that while he’s certainly radical, he’s not so radical as to dispense completely with musical convention.  Indeed in many ways, this is just a prog album in synth clothing, although there’s no way you could sit through all 48 minutes if you didn’t have a bit of a soft spot for the old Moog.

This link with other musical styles is most apparent in Synergy’s cover of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue,  a song which featured in a 1936 Broadway musical comedy and later covered by the Ventures and the Shadows among others.  Needless to say, it doesn’t stick incredibly closely to the original, clocking in at a rather snooze-inducing 12 minutes.  While it starts somewhat worrying, like something out of a royal wedding, its Vivaldi-esque interlude sounds almost pastoral, an adjective not often associated with the harsh beeps and gurgles of the synth.  That’ll be where they get the “orchestra” bit in the title, then.

Legacy is quite nice too, crossing over into Peter Gabriel territory (they were later to tour together) before morphing into something reminiscent of Nightmare on Elm Street.  Which is a shame, as this is ideal music to fall asleep to.   Classical Gas clocks in at a measly three minutes, but is an absolute blast, the Space Invaders theme that never was, choosing instead to go into Wendy Carlos’ Clockwork Orange territory.  If you were to update the instrumentation a bit (which Fast has been known to do) you might even have an Ibiza anthem on your hands.

What’s this?  Riverdance stole its act from the Synergy song Relay Breakdown?  Well, maybe not, but there’s definintely an Irish jig just waiting to burst out.  Let’s be honest – you’d have to be pretty hardcore to love a few tracks and hate others.  Instead, Electronic Realisations for Rock Orchestras (I wonder if Rock Orchestras actually exist…) should be taken in as one whole piece, which will be loved or hated appropriately depending on your particular appetite for analog synthesisers played very, very proficiently.





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