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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SYNERGY: Cords (1978)

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

“Synergy's Cords is a truly masterpiece and an inescapable opus of modern EM which is part of my lifetime top 10”

1 On Presuming to be Modern 3:06 2 Phobos and Deimos go to Mars: Phobos 3:45 3 Phobos and Deimos go to Mars: Deimos 3:29 4 Sketches of Mythical Beasts 3:32 5 Disruption in World Communications 4:18 6 On Presuming to be Modern II 2:58 7 A Small Collection of Chords 1:25 8 Full Moon Flyer 7:43 9 Terra Incognita 3:50 10 Trellis 3:38 11 On Presuming to be Modern III 3:25

12 Phobos and Deimos-Radio Edit 4:12 (Bonus track) Voiceprint | VP297CD

(CD 45:36) (V.F.) (Modern EM)

It had been a long time since I wanted to write about Synergy; one of the most important bastions of modern EM. And I decided to sink the nail when I listened to, by boredom for these soft days forgotten in the corner by my memory, the remastered edition of CORDS offered by Polydor. And like in 1978, I was totally stunned! The music here is an intense journey between the abstract and the atmospheric perversions of a sound universe where the masters of that era had not still dared to go. CORDS is a fascinating electronic symphony where sounds, gurglings, rustlings and lamentations of machines form a stunning symbiosis. And Larry Fast dissects this harmonious skeleton that is the journey of Phobos and Deimos in multitude of small segments. In thin cords which in the end can sound alike, but which have just what it needs in tones and nuances to dissociate themselves and offer a musical panorama of which the evolution establishes a climate of obsession which hangs on in every fibers of our eardrums. And no matter the stories that surround CORDS, when we have our ears immersed in its music, we know that we are in the core of its beast to thousand cords and knobs: the Moog and the Oberheim. In 1978, the album's vinyl is white. And when the Itok arm hits it slowly, it's a strange filet of white noises which emerges from our loudspeakers. Then fall the synth strata of which the arabesques surf on the rotations of symphonic drums. Onsuming Pre to be Modern transcends the symphonic approaches of the first two works of Synergy on this opening of CORDS. The synth layers are oblong and their descent is vertiginous. Already, the metaphysical world of Synergy extends and gets heard in our ears with a crowd of suspicious noises, among which absent rustles, which ooze among the big strikings of percussions and the singings of the hoarse birdies. The ambience? Tetanising! Between the euphony and the rustlings of the synths, the anxiety (or the emotion?) will spread its crystal trap which gradually will bear our two hemispheres in the alert of a hallucinating listening. Welcome to CORDS! And Phobos and Deimos go to Mars crashes into our ears with a battle of sequencer keys which collide in their most ill-assorted tonalities, forging a powerful and surprising electronic rock which was never equalled to this day. You have to hear this bass line, aggressive and nasty, bite everything on its passage. Whether it's the sweetness of the strata, which try to spread some lovely harmonious filets on this unbridled rhythm, or these sequences which burst as typists' strikings taken in a tsunami, the line of bass remains furious and imitates marvellously the wild races that Tony Levin does on his bass-handle. It runs and climbs on a heavy rhythm and of which the superb transition within the journey of Deimos is one of the most hard-hitting points of CORDS which moderates at knocks of sorrow the fury of its furious rhythm in the gusts of twisted solos from a Moog which complains as a child in lack of attention. Astounding! Phobos and Deimos go to Mars is, to my ears, the most hard-hitting and most the incisive track of the history of modern EM. Isolated chords fall like flakes of black snow and the synths spread their philharmonic strata, entailing Sketches of Mythical Beasts in a slow waltz where everything turns in jerky and eroded circles. Sneaky and wave-like, the lines of bass are grumbling a dialect of animal dying in the meanders of the Moog's spinning which multiplies some lines to contradictory odes; merging Straussian melodies and uterine lamentations into a musical pattern became more and more nerve-racking. Spectral, the delicate keys which open Disruption in World Communications remind a ritornello for kids cavorting in corridors where exactly sleeps the beast to thousand cords and knobs. A very beautiful harpsichord amplifies this approach of innocence that a heavy movement of synth is crunching of its insane shouts which turn in circles in an intense and noisy musical setting.

A Small Collection of Chords opened the B side with soft shimmering chords drawn in the candour of a harpsichord. They hum with naivety on a beautiful harmonious pattern. We are entering into the most atmospheric phase of CORDS. We dive into the baroque ambiences of the time of vampires (The Fearless Vampire Killers) with this short melody which sprinkles of its innocence the walls of Full Moon Flyer of which the intro is as well mesmerizing as a concerto for horns and violins. But the beast goes out of its work. She goes out with the rollings of drum to moan in an organic dialogue where the gurglings are jumbling up with the real tears of a synth which feeds this dramatic scene by knocks of strata waltzing as the falls of leaves in a dry autumn. It's abominably intense and poignant. And this is magnificently weaved in the most visceral obsession. The finale is flooding our ears of howling sirens, which cover the harmonies of an organ forgotten in this surrealist staging and encroach on the feast of the lamentations which is Terra Incognita. The intro of Trellis falls in our ears with its huge bass line and its groaning bites which coo heavily in ample oscillations. Everything is of madness in this short track which tries a melodious breakthrough in this unstable broth which ends in a din altogether rather harmonious. On Presuming to be Modern III differs from its two younger brothers with a darker and more theatrical approach. It's a finale filled with the rhythms and ambiences, finely blended and dissected, of a work that will pursue you all your life. This remasterised edition offers the radio version of Phobos and Deimos which is more centred here on its furious rhythm. Still, it's great.

With its rhythms and its ambiences at the diapasons of their insanities, CORDS explain by itself all the possibilities of a musical form that the arrival of the digital technology has killed its uncountable possibilities in the egg. When we enter in CORDS, we know that we are in a unique place. It's a little bit as if we were literally in the heart of an immense musical beast and that we hear it fight for its survival and among which its tears and groans are crystallized with all its emotions into ambient air. This is a truly masterpiece and an inescapable opus of modern EM which is part of my lifetime top 10. Hat to you Larry Fast! Sylvain Lupari (March 26th, 2013) *****

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1 comentário

06 de set. de 2021

Great to see someone appreciate what is one of the most astounding and awe-inspiring works of electronic music. The snobs of course would point to its tonality and its nods to classical music forms and melody as putting it at the dismissed "prog" end of electronica, but that misses the point that you make elegantly: here we see the marriage of real music writing passed through the filter of electronic music in a way that is rarely attempted. And the craft of it is on a level that was perhaps never attempted - details and writing that, quite honestly, put the likes of Tomita and Wendy Carlos to shame. What a record, utterly unique, and endlessly enjoyable.

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