Monday, May 13, 2013

Review - Synergy - Metropolitan Suite

I don't know why Larry Fast stopped making his Synergy albums. I mean, they were completely unlike anything else being made. They weren't bland New Age snoozefests like a lot of the electronic music of the time (and unfortunately Amazon still lists Synergy albums under the New Age category) but rather they were serious classical compositions with touches of pop and rock. But regardless of why he stopped, his final album, Metropolitan Suite was his crowning achievement.

The first half of this album is a stunning, sweeping, orchestral tone poem depicting New York in the early 20th century. The five movements are his Ninth Symphony, his magnum opus. The first movement is filled with wonder, like turning a bend in the road and finding a city suddenly spread out in a valley before you. The second is filled with uneven progressive, choppy rhythms with comparisons to "Breakdown in Modern Communications" in spades. The other three movements are equally varied but the common melodic themes woven throughout form a very gratifying listening experience especially for fans of Copland and Gershwin.

The second "side" of the album are his usual unconnected compositions. "Into the Abyss" is packed with energy but retains the majestic feel of the first side. "Prairie Light" could be a Peter Gabriel track and "Redstone" is pure energetic synth rock with tidbits of surf guitar and The Car.

The liner notes are also fun to read, at least for old gear heads like myself. "Sound Generation" lists Moog modular synthesizer, Memorymoog, Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, Oberheim Expander Module (old version), Yamaha DX7, Yamaha TX-216, Emu Systems Emulator II. "Sound processing" has such early digital units as Deltalab DL-2 Acousticomputer, Lexicon PCM-60 digital reverb, Roland Dimension D, Yamaha SPX-90 digital multi-effect Processor, AMS RMX 16 digital reverb, EMT 140 plate echo, Eventide digital delays and more.

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