Log for The Artist Shop IRC Chat with Larry "Synergy" Fast on September 3, 1997


Session Start: Wed Sep 03 1997

<GaryD> Greetings everyone.  On behalf of The Artist Shop and Talk City I welcome you all
here tonight for the online CD release party of Synergy's Cords.  Joining us tonight is Mr.
Synergy himself, Larry Fast!

<LarryFast> Good evening

<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> . ******************************
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .            Welcome to tonight's
<WotanCCC> .                  Artist Shop
<WotanCCC> .          Featured Artist Conference
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .   "Synergy's 'Cords' re-release party"
<WotanCCC> .              with the composer
<WotanCCC> .                   Larry Fast
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .                 Presented by
<WotanCCC> .            @Music and TalkCity
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .******************************

<WotanCCC> Larry Fast is one of the main innovators of electronic music having worked with
Wendy Carlos, Bob Moog and others.  In the 70's and 80's he recorded a series of very
successful electronic masterpieces under the name Synergy.
<WotanCCC> For 10 years he was an integral part of Peter Gabriel's recording and touring band
from the very start of Gabriel's solo career.  Larry has also worked with a number of other
progressive artists such as Nektar, Annie Haslam, and Rick Wakeman.
<WotanCCC> The record label that put out the classic Synergy albums folded shortly after they'd
re-released his catalog on CD.  As a result, most of his fans never had a chance to upgrade their
vinyl to compact disc.  A couple years ago, after lengthy court processes, Larry finally won back
the rights to his music.  Since then he has started to re-master and re-release his back catalog.
<WotanCCC> His first two albums, Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra and Sequencer
have been out a short while.  And now his third album has been re-released, Cords!
<WotanCCC> Larry, thank you for joining us tonight!  Welcome to TalkCity Larry.

<LarryFast> Hi everybody

<ToniCCC> Larry, it's a pleasure having you here tonight!

<WotanCCC> We are running a moderated room today. Only the hosts and guest can type to
the screen. To send a question for Larry Fast,  author of "Cords"  type /msg ToniCCC and then
type your question. Thanks!
<WotanCCC> I'd like to start off with the first question please. Have the re-issued CD's been

<LarryFast> Yes they have.  They're digital transfers made from the original mixes before the LP
equalization was added.
<LarryFast> I've done a little additional digital work on them for these CDs.

<WotanCCC> Very cool.  I loved the sound of the original LP's.

<GaryD> Larry, I've always felt that Cords was a significant departure from the two previous
albums.  Can you tell me how your approach to it differed from the earlier ones?

<LarryFast> A few things were different. A big one is that I was working with a guitar synthesist--
Peter Sobel, which changed the way I approached the project and added another person's ideas.
<LarryFast> Also, the syth technology was moving along at a pretty good clip by the end of the
70s--I even used my new Apple II for some sequencing.

<ToniCCC> sage asks:  what are your thoughts on where electronic music is heading, with bands
like the Prodigy and Beck breathing new life into the style, where do you see it going?

<LarryFast> I'm happy to see a renewed interest in creating music with technology.  There's
room for all kinds of approaches to using the electronic "tools".
<LarryFast> My style of course is different than Beck or Prodigy, but I really value what they're
bringing to the music.
<LarryFast> I'm glast to see that the anti-technology attitude that was around for a while has
<LarryFast> I really can't tell where it's going, but I'm sure that we'll all be surprised.

<GaryD> On a number of your albums you made the remark "...and no guitars!"  Was this a dig
at Queen since they said on their albums "....and no synthesizers!"

<LarryFast> Yes, it absolutely was a comment related to the no synthesizers comment on the
first Queen album.  And I liked Queen, too....

<GaryD> LOL!!!

<WotanCCC> Apparantly there are some really good audience questions.  Lets get to another.

<ToniCCC> From  DrForbin - Larry: Great to see you back!  I thoroughly enjoyed Sequencer and
Cords, what electronic artists do you like that you would recommend?

<WotanCCC> Good question DrForbin
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> For more information on
<WotanCCC> "Cords " and other Larry Fast Recordings,
<WotanCCC> please visit the Artist Shop web site at:
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .      http://www.artist-shop.com/thirdcon
<WotanCCC> .

<LarryFast> I'm kind of partial because she's been a mentor, a friend and fellow performer, but I
can't say enough about Wendy Carlos.

<WotanCCC> Pretty important figure in the history of the synthesizer.

<LarryFast> Wendy "wrote the book" on electronic music production values and music style with
her work from Switched On Bach 30 years ago through today.
<LarryFast> It's tough to recommend a particular electronic music artist since the styles are so

<GaryD> Since you mentioned her, tell us a little about your live performance with her a few
months back.  And are there plans for future live performances together?

<LarryFast> There's nothing booked for the ensemble right now, but lots of interest.
<LarryFast> We played a Bach festival in the spring which was Wendy's first public
performance--ever--even 28 years after the Bach album's release.
<LarryFast> We were an 8 player ensemble--8 Kurzweils, playing without sequencers from the
orchestral Bach scores.

<WotanCCC> She never performed the Bach material live?

<LarryFast> Wendy had never performed any of her recordings live.  Period.  She had lectured
and been a public figure, but not performed.

<WotanCCC> Interesting.

<LarryFast> The live performance was a big even for the NY Bach festival--and a perfect venue
on Broadway.

<ToniCCC> Technicus  asks - How often do you programme a sequence, and then improvise-
compose around it? I compose electronic music a lot like this.  Also, Will there be a video
released of  Larry's performance in NY with Wendy?

<WotanCCC> Wow, great question.

<LarryFast> The video first--no there was no proper video made because of the great expense
under NY union rules.  However a good friend did manage to sneak a miniature JVC pocket
digital video in so we have copies of the show.  But Wendy really doesn't want them circulated.
I'll have to honor that.
<LarryFast> About composing--I'll improvise a little, but I tend to rework the improv so much that
it always ends up being a more composed piece.
<LarryFast> I guess that I just don't come from a jamming or jazz background.  I tend to sculpt
and fuss more.

<WotanCCC> What are your thoughts on the changes in music technology since you first
recorded Cords?

<LarryFast> Generally I'm ecsatsic with the tools we've got now.  Most of that stuff we only
dreamed about in 1978.
<LarryFast> But there is the danger with MIDI and computers to either fuss over a piece and
bleed it to death.  Or it is way too easy to just throw a bunch of samples together and call it your

<WotanCCC> What are the biggest improvements you see?

<LarryFast> The improvements are really in the quality of the sound and in the control now
possible.  Good digital recording and well programmed digital synthesizers can open up new

<WotanCCC> Interesting comment about the samples.  The cost of the technology is amazing

<LarryFast> It's also a lot less expensive these days.  You can get a lot more creative tools for
your dollar.

<WotanCCC> You can literally have a "studio in a box" for just a couple thousand dollars.

<LarryFast> That opens it up to more people.

<ToniCCC> JimY wants to know -  Larry, Which do you prefer, the sounds of the old Analog
Synths, or the current digital keyboards?

<LarryFast> I like them both.  Some of us old timers have been talking recently about how
frustrated we used to be with the old patch cord analog gear.
<LarryFast> Back then we wanted better, more realistic sounds, but we did with what we had.
<LarryFast> But waht happened is that we inadvertantly created a whole aestheic based on that
limited sound palatte which is now kind of interesting in retrospect.
<LarryFast> I have more of an appreciation for the analog class of sounds than I did back then--
though I often re-create them with newer digital synths--and I don't mean samples of old synths.

<ToniCCC> sage asks-  ok I gotta know what was it like working with Peter Gabrial?  Actually,
ToniCCC would like to know too  <g>

<WotanCCC> B-{)}

<LarryFast> No problem, but it was 10 years--so any particular aspect?

<WotanCCC> Any interesting road stories?  Or recording trials and tribulations?
<WotanCCC> Wasn't "Security" one of the first completely digital recordings?
<WotanCCC> Great tour too btw.

<LarryFast> The surprising thing is that is was so basically normal and professional.  The most
unusual thing about the tours was that Peter loved to change the travel plans
<LarryFast> We would end up staying in old castles, and ski lodges in the alps instead of the
normal executive hotels.  That was great.

* ToniCCC is always in awe of Gabriels command over the audience
<ToniCCC> sounds like great fun, Larry!

<LarryFast> Security was an early CD release, but it was 24 track analog (on a Studer A800 that
was always breaking--I did service on it sometimes)-mixed to analog with digital safety copies.

<WotanCCC> Ahhh, I had it wrong all these years....

<LarryFast> Recording with Peter was a lengthy process because he takes a lot of time in writing
--especially his lyrics,  And there are always other things like WOMAD competing for his time.

<ToniCCC> thanks  :)
<ToniCCC> Kenzak  Larry, any comments on the Joy Askew ep that you released. That as well
as the re-release of Cords have not left my CD player since I got my hands on them yesterday.

<WotanCCC> Very cool Kenzak.
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> For more information on
<WotanCCC> "Cords " and other Larry Fast Recordings,
<WotanCCC> please visit the Artist Shop web site at:
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .      http://www.artist-shop.com/thirdcon
<WotanCCC> .

<LarryFast> Joy fits into the Peter Gabriel picture since between the two of us we have spanned
much of his solo career.  She's a great talent and another good friend.  After Private Music
closed up I offered my help so that she could get some of her new music out before her Lilith
Fair dates.
<LarryFast> Joy is also on Joe Jackson's new Heaven & Hell CD coming out this month.  And
she's also on Joe's PBS TV special.
<LarryFast> BTW, her first CD on Private still is in release.
<LarryFast> For those, who missed her, Joy also played synths and keyboards, plus vocals on
most of Peter's last world tour.  After she left, she was replaced by Paula Cole.

<WotanCCC> When you were first developing as a musician, who were your major influences?
And who did you really look up to as a musician?
<WotanCCC> .  We will be giving away an autographed copy
<WotanCCC> .  of "Cords" by Larry "Synergy" Fast later
<WotanCCC> .  on in the conference.  To purchase a copy
<WotanCCC> .   of Cords or other CD's in Larrys catalog
<WotanCCC> .   go to;
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .     http://www.artist-shop.com/thirdcon
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> ****

<LarryFast> When I was a young kid taking piano lessons I actually liked the classical lessons
better because my teacher's idea of pop was his big band era stuff.  So I preferred to struggle
with Brahms and Beethoven.  I tended to look up to those icons.  But I found one common
ground with my teacher in compsers like Gershwin and Rodgers.
<LarryFast> I came of age in the ear of Beatlemania, so that 1964 British invasion shaped my
pop sensibilities more than any other contemporary music.

<WotanCCC>  Thanks Larry.

<GaryD> Hmmmm.  Rodgers shows up on your first album with Slaughter on 10th Avenue.
Have you done Gershwin anywhere?

<LarryFast> Metropolitan Suite, the last of the Passoprt/Audio releases is very Gershwin
influenced, though I didn't do any of his pieces I tried to work in his style had he lived.

<ToniCCC> chuck36 has this for Larry,  I am reading a 1978 article for Polyphony that you wrote
about the making of Cords. A lot of it brings a little smile because of the advances we've had,
but I was wondering if you felt that MIDI has put a damper on some creative techniques, such as
the use of rhythmic patches.

<WotanCCC> The transcript of this event will be posted within
<WotanCCC> a few days on the @Music discussion boards on Talk City
<WotanCCC> (http://www.talkcity.com) and on the
<WotanCCC> Artist Shop web site (http://www.artist-shop.com)

<LarryFast> It shouldn't, but in reality, it does.  I don't see people with enough patience to set up
the MIDI equivalent of the complex patches we used to set up.
<LarryFast> We did it that way because that's all that there was--sometimes it's just too easy
now to be lazy.
<LarryFast> But it's not the technology at fault--more human nature.

<WotanCCC>  Hasn't Roland developed a digital synth with analog style editing controls?  Might
be a bit easier to create new sounds.

<LarryFast> Roland has, and Nord, and a number of recreations of older analog synths.  It is a
trend in the right direction.  I've always favored computer assisted patching because a screen full
of clickable paramaters is almost as good as the knobs.
<LarryFast> Without a computer linked to the synth--the knobs defintely help.

<ToniCCC> DrForbin asks, I used to play Jazz Trumpet (played trumpet for 20 years) and after 4
years of not playing music I decided to learn piano...after about 3 weeks on my Alesis QS8 the
flexibility of the Piano is staggering...I'm taking classical lessons and having a great time... how
much time would you recommend (per day) to fully grok the instrument (i'd like to move on to
jazz/fusion/pure electronic)?

<LarryFast> That's a tough one because everyone develops at such different rates.  20 years of
playing, even on a different instrument, are such a big help in developing a musical head that a
newbie isn't going to have.
<LarryFast> The time spent is going to be a combination of musical skills training and learning
the technology of your particular instrument and the more generalized audio technology to allow
you to accomplish your goals.
<LarryFast> I'm copping out on giving a specific answer.  (Up to 24 hours a day should be spent
;) )

<WotanCCC> LOL
<WotanCCC> Finding your "voice" is a personal thing.

<GaryD> Larry, I've always felt that Cords and Audion both had a Middle Eastern feel in a
number of places.  Care to comment on that?

<LarryFast> I don't know.  I've travelled there often because of family connections, but to be
honest, I never felt that much affinity for the music--so it's probably not a conscious study.
<LarryFast> It might just be the nature of exploring sound and melody around a tonic in a simple
manner because the sounds are holding the interest.
<LarryFast> I've never given it that much thought.  Good question.

<ToniCCC> Rhythm_Met wants to know, who were the other performers for the Wendy
Carlos/Larry Fast performance.  Also, do you still use any of your old Moog equipment?

<LarryFast> I've still got much of the old Moog equipment because I keep telling myself that I'm
going to use it.   But somehow, I always manage to find what I need on the Kurzweil, or Korg or
TEchnics or whatever.
<LarryFast> The other players on the Bach show--Wendy (of course), Jordan Rudess, Chris
Martirano, Matthew Davidson, Gloria Chang, Mayumi Richardson and Claire Cooper.
<LarryFast> We were conducted by Ettore Stratta

<WotanCCC> ****
<WotanCCC> .  We will be giving away an autographed copy
<WotanCCC> .  of "Cords" by Larry "Synergy" Fast later
<WotanCCC> .  on in the conference.  To purchase a copy
<WotanCCC> .   of Cords or other CD's in Larrys catalog
<WotanCCC> .   go to;
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .     http://www.artist-shop.com/thirdcon
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> ****
<WotanCCC> Could you comment on the "State of the Arts" in the 90's?  Do you have any
favorite artists?  What are you listening to now?

<LarryFast> I've actually be listening to John Eliot Garnder's recordings of Beethoven's
symphonies performed on period instruments at tempos that would have been heard in the early
19th century.
<LarryFast> I find myself listening to mostly classical these days, with a good dose of White
Zombie and Nine Inch Nails (really--not being funny).
<LarryFast> I try to stay up with the modern rock charts--a legacy of my years in radio.

<WotanCCC> So your a Trent Reznor fan?

<LarryFast> Big Reznor fan

<GaryD> The net is starting to buzz with news of the Nektar reunion.  What can you tell us about
that?  And will you play a part in it?

<LarryFast> I'm really surprised at the level of the buzz--I didn't know that anybody remembered.
<LarryFast> I've been asked to be a part of it and I'd like to be.  I'm supposed to meet with the
guys later this week or next to hear the demos that Roye Albrighton just sent us from the UK (all
the others live near New York, like me).

<WotanCCC> Sounds exciting.

<LarryFast> There's no fixed schedule, but everyone wants it to happen so I suspect that it will

<GaryD> Well, I think it's about time for our trivia giveaway if your ready Larry
<GaryD> Larry will be giving away an autographed copy of the new Cords re-release.  After
Larry asks his question, Wotan will unmoderate the room so get your typing fingers ready!!!!
<GaryD> Anytime you're ready, Larry.

<LarryFast> I'm ready--here's the question--I'll have two levels so if there a tie the one who gets
more detailed wins.

<GaryD> First correct answer wins the autographed CD

<LarryFast> Both Cords and Peter Gabriel's second solo album (the one with On The Air) share
something about their cover artwork.  It's only seen on the LP version of Peter's record, but the
Cords hint is on the CD and LP.  Remember its in the artwork.  What is it that they share.
<LarryFast> (that is the most detailed answer is only seen on Peter's LP--the easy answer is
seen on his LP and CD, too.)

<WotanCCC> You're on folks...

<The_Shark> Answer:  lightining?

<LarryFast> not lightning.

<george2> time elapsed photography

<The_Shark> Answer: naked man?

<LarryFast> not time laspe, not a naked guy (not on Peter's--and the guy did have on

<WotanCCC> Any more takers?

<GaryD> Hmmm, this one seems to be a toughie

<LarryFast> let me know when you want a leading hint.

<Technicus> A metropolis scene in the bg?

<GaryD> Hope you've got a second one in reserve.

<WotanCCC> LOL

<DrForbin> (im practicing telemann cuz this question is too hard)

<LarryFast> Technicus is onto something.  Be more specific

<WotanCCC> LOL Forbin

<Judy> The street corner?

<LarryFast> Judy's really close--tell us more.

<Waveman> The man and woman who look like spirits?

<george2> man at corner of bldg

<LarryFast> not the spirits.

<Kenzak> I think I know, but I'm disqualifing myself.

<Judy> Is it the same intersection?

<LarryFast> Here's a hint--go fo it Judy-- look at Peter's inner sleeve photo.

<The_Shark> Answer: George building, hiding woman, one way sign, uses same font for album

<LarryFast> Judy's still way ahead.  It's not eactly the intersection.

<george2> one way street

<WotanCCC> <-- should have studied.

<ToriaAMC> lol Wotan

<Judy> The bridge?

<LarryFast> We're checking with the judges....

<WotanCCC> And the winner is....

<ToriaAMC> <----starts a drum roll

<WotanCCC> <-- consulting panel of experts...

<GaryD> Hold on folks

<LarryFast> I think we have a call on this from backstage

<LarryFast> The closest was.....Judy.

<WotanCCC> Yeah Judy!

<LarryFast> The answer was that it's the same overpass on the West Side Highway in New York
shot by the same photographer two days apart--shot by Hipgnosis--
<LarryFast> We even would have accepted both covers by Hipgnosis.
<LarryFast> Good call Judy.

<WotanCCC> Very cool.

<GaryD> Congratulations Judy!

<ToriaAMC> Yay, Judy!

<WotanCCC> Gary will take your vital statistics Judy.
<WotanCCC> And your address too.
<WotanCCC> B-{)}

<GaryD> Well, we've gone a bit over tonight, but had a lot of fun in doing so.  I want to thank
Larry Fast for being our guest of honor tonight....

<LarryFast> I'd like to thank everyone for turning out and for the good questions.
<LarryFast> It's been a pleasure.

<ToriaAMC> Thank you, Larry.

<WotanCCC> Great conference Larry...really enjoyed it.
<WotanCCC> Looks like our time is up... I'd like to thank everyone for joining us
<WotanCCC> Larry, we appreciate your taking the time to come and chat with us tonight, and
hope you¹ll come back to Talk City again soon!

<LarryFast> We'll look forward to the next one.
<LarryFast> Good night.

<WotanCCC> To purchase Larry Fasts' "Cords",
<WotanCCC> or for information on other Artist offerings,
<WotanCCC> please visit The Artist Shop Online at:
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> http://www.artist-shop.com/thirdcon
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC>  .
<WotanCCC> Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this  conference. We
especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with Larry
<WotanCCC> Don't forget to drop by the Artist Shop and
<WotanCCC> explore all of their musical offerings.
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .     http://www.artist-shop.com
<WotanCCC> .

<GaryD> Also, special thanks to Wotan and Talk City....not to mention the other Talk City staff
who helped out.
<WotanCCC>  .
<WotanCCC> Next on our Artist Shop Featured Artist Series:
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .   Sunday, Sept 14 at
<WotanCCC> .   1 pm pt / 4pm et
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .         Marillion
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC> .          another
<WotanCCC> .   Artist Shop / @Music
<WotanCCC> .         production
<WotanCCC> .
<WotanCCC>  And thank you all...
<WotanCCC> We now return to our regularly scheduled programming....
<WotanCCC> B-{)}

<GaryD> Yes, on Sunday, September 14 at 4pm eastern time we will be chatting with three
members of Marillion....Steve Hogarth, Steve Rothery and Mark Kelly.  Be sure to join us.
<GaryD> I will be posting details at <http://www.artist-shop.com/irc>

<WotanCCC> And the @Music site of course.
<WotanCCC> You were a great audience tonight folks.  Really enjoyed your questions.

Session Close: Wed Sep 03 1997

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