What happens when you combine elements of Progressive Rock, Space Rock, Electronic and Neo Classical? All controlled by the amazing and expressive sound of the Starr Labs Ztar?
"ONE LINK BETWEEN THEM." How the album came to be:
After recording and releasing several successful Guitar Synthesizer Instrumental CD's since 2005, featuring Guitar Pitch to MIDI Technology, Les felt the need to break through existing barriers he had experienced since the dawn of MIDI. Although he once owned and used a SynthAxe MIDI Controller, the company had long ceased doing business and there seemed to be very little to choose from in the way of advanced MIDI control that a virtuso guitarist could play in real time with reliable and predictable results with modern music technology.
Always on the lookout for a MIDI Guitar that could track as fast as he could play, he discovered the Starr Labs Ztar in the Summer of 2007 which, unexpectedly, opened up a whole new Universe of performance and expressive possibilities for him as a composer, musician and guitar synthesist.
As a result of acquiring this new instrument, Les has chosen to gravitate away from traditional guitar based pop music and his current work involves the music and dynamic of Electronic sound as realized from the performance control of the Ztar. Searching for a means that could transport the listener to new realms of experience, he found himself now able to single-handedly orchestrate entire new worlds of sonic tapestry in real time with perfect tracking which were never before possible from previous MIDI Guitar technology. An entirely new merging of mind, heart, and computer technology resulting in new music was now posssible. Using a blend of Rock, Electronic, Progressive and Neo Classical signposts, Les' new CD "One Link Between Them" opens up a new door to a sound which has thrilled music fans the world over.
"ONE LINK BETWEEN THEM" Composition Notes:
This CD was originally conceived as a conceptual trip thru the Solar System in the distant future when manned space travel will be commonplace. If you'd like to hear these songs as individual unrelated nuggets, great. If you're into linking things together to form a larger picture, here goes.
1. "Lift Off" (Composed by Les Fradkin): This super charged opening number begins with the sound of our astral traveler being "beamed" up to the space station to rendezvous with his spacecraft. Once on board, he's confronted with weightlessness which is suggested by the "wobbly" synth sounds which follow. Then, he fires the ignition and heads off into space at great velocity.
2. "Orbiter" (Composed by Les Fradkin): This one finds him orbiting the planet Venus as his first stop (guess it's just too hot on Mercury). The 5/8 time signature bridge section connotes the off axis orbit Venus has (it rotates clockwise). Mellotron Violins establish the opening chord. The piece begins and ends with a signature blipping sound of his spacecraft.
3. "From Venus With Love" (Composed by Les Fradkin & Loretta Fradkin):
The Astral Traveler decides to land on Venus and investigate. Of course, it's way too hot there to really do this but this is science fiction. :-) Once there, he meets the race of Venusian women who great him with a progressive tribal chant. The sound is a woman's heartbeat mixed with Mellotrons and drum loops. The main theme, as played by the Ztar controlling Moog Modular and Mellotron MK II Violins is his expression of attraction to one of these women. The middle section-well, they get together. You know, "hook up." What else is there to do on Venus? At the end, he has to depart and the main theme restates with the woman in a very high soprano voice pleading with him not to leave. This piece closes with him blasting off and fading into the distance.
4. "Liberty" (Composed by Steve Vai): On his way to Mars, the Astral Traveler has to pass by the Earth. "Liberty" was chosen to celebrate the multi nationalism present on our planet. And to remind us that freedom is too precious to lose. "Liberty" features the Ztar a shred guitar voice for this tune.
5. "Caravan" (Composed by D. Ellington, J.Ticol, I.Mills): "Caravan" has been covered many times by many artists but never quite like this! Taking this Jazz chestnut into outer space, the Middle Eastern feel (Mellotron MKII Violins) merges with a space rock backing to evoke the red planet.
6. "Warp Drive" (Composed by Les Fradkin): To speed past the asteroids and reach Jupiter safely, our astral traveler has to engage Warp Drive speed. After firing the command to do so, the computer on board says- :"We'll take you."
This composition fires on all cylinders at Warp Drive. Thor Polysonic Synthesizer, Mellotron MKII and Moog Modular Synthesizers all triggered by the Ztar, combine to give this track great speed and expressiveness.
7. "Sailing All Alone" (Composed by Les Fradkin): Saturn looms ahead as our astral traveler's thoughts look back to the woman he's left behind. Very melancholic and evocative of King Crimson from "In The Court Of The Crimson King." The opening theme is stated on a Moog Modular Synthesizer. The main theme is played with a theremin-like sound from the Logic ES-2. Various Mellotrons (MKII Violins, M300 Violins, M400 Cello) evoke an icy atmosphere. At the conclusion, his memories of her meld together with the image of her face in the spaceship window. The high soprano human voice at the end is courtesy of Tara Coker-Lewis.
8. "Longing To Return" (Composed by Les Fradkin): By the time our hero is out past the orbit of Uranus, he's feeling quite alone. This beautiful piece is meant to connote those complex feelings way out in space where you arte utterly alone. The Ztar allowed Les to perform the orchestration is one take as a live overdub totally tapped on the Ztar fingerboard.
9. "A Dim Twilight" (Composed by Les Fradkin & Loretta Fradkin) : As the Astral Traveler salils past Neptune and out to the Kuiper Belt towards Pluto, Eris, Quonar and Sedna, out astral hero decides it's time to make the long journey home. The various phases of this composition connote those points passed and the trip back towards Earth. Opens with Mellotron Flute and Oboe over an exotic electronic backing. This version is different from the version on the Telstar single. This track is over 7 minutes long and the 2 minute preview clip here only offers a brief glimpse to what's in store.
10. "Telstar" (Composed by Joe Meek): What better way to achieve Earth re-entry than with the original Earth/Outer Space anthem. Features the Ztar triggering a glorious sample of a Clavioline which was the lead sound of the original recording.