Synergy — Larry Fast's better known pseudonym as an electronic musician since his very first album in 1975 — remains one of America's brightest EM lights. Larry still intends to bring us entirely new music one day, but that doesn't mean he didn't actually sit at his keyboards again for Reconstructed Artifacts (which Larry referred to in one interview as "accidental"). The first official Synergy album since 1987's Metropolitan Suite, the ten compositions found here — from four of seven albums not counting his soundtrack The Jupiter Menace — were entirely rerecorded on digital
synthezisers by Kurzweil, E-mu and Roland.
And the point is? After all, we've got the old releases, dripping with raw analog juices to savor for as long as we've got electricity. Well, Larry was invited to perform at the annual Alfa Centauri festival in the Netherlands in 2002; somehow, Synergy the studio project had to be reborn as Synergy the live performance, and this meant Larry had lots of programming to do (what, you thought his old Moog synths were safely tucked into a corner, covered with sheets, knobs all taped into place?). The reconditioned Artifacts are the result of pre-Alfa groundwork, except for "Flight Of The Looking Glass," which was performed in 2000 while on tour with Tony Levin (look to Levin's live Double Espresso for "Phobos and Deimos" from Cords, 1978). The new digital recreations of the old sounds nail their "ancestors" well enough, though the basses sound a tad less punchy. That's a minor quibble, as the disc's fifty-six minutes constitute an exciting compilation of Syner-gems like "Relay Breakdown," "Warriors," and "Ancestors," each its own rousing theme in and of itself; Fast never had to search long for stately melodies with which to marry those gorgeous sounds. These new versions are equally industrious and pristine, recorded exclusively with modern Mac software.
Following three selections from the "Metropolitan Suite," Artifacts closes on a high note with the masterful romp that is "Into The Abyss." Dare I say I prefer this new version over its forerunner? From portentous onset to near-quixotic climax, the "Abyss" is one of the best overtures never set to celluloid, and the perfect set closer or encore, to estimate that's what it became at Alfa. For whatever reason, 1979's Games is not represented here, nor the classic "Revolt At L-5" piece from Audion. Color me greedy, or too used to seventy-two minutes of music on a single CD!
Note — Voiceprint reissued the entire catalog of Synergy remasters, with new bonus tracks, in 2004. These are different from the 1998 Polygram~Chronicles remasters.
1. Relay Breakdown (6:50)
2. Warriors (12:43)
~1-2 originally recorded in 1975 for Electronic Realizations For Rock Orchestra
3. S-Scape (6:10)
~originally recorded in 1976 for Sequencer
4. Orbit 5 (0:58)
5. Ancestors (5:34)
6. Flight Of The Looking Glass* (3:36)
~4-6 originally recorded in 1981 for Audion — *live version ca. 2000
7. North River (1:22)
8. Steam And Steel Towers (6:16)
9. Metropolitan Theme (Main Theme) (4:10)
10. Into The Abyss (8:16)
~7-10 originally recorded in 1986 for Metropolitan Suite
Total time – 56:14