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 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.
Les Fradkin Bio::
Les Fradkin has been on the cutting edge of Guitar Synthesis since the dawn of MIDI back in 1983. But his experience with synthesis and sampling strtches even further back to 1970 when he began a long and distinguished career as an Artist, Composer, Producer and session Mellotron and Guitar player in New York City and London.
He's a Guitar Synthesizer Virtuoso and 21st Century music innovative composer on the Starr Labs Ztar. He was an original member of The Broadway Show- "Beatlemania" when he portrayed George Harrison and played lead guitar in the hit Broadway musical from 1977 through 1979. He found success as a recording artist, composer and producer with MGM Sunflower, ESP-Disk', Bell, Arista, RCA, and Laurie Records. Les was discovered by John Hammond Sr. and Tony Orlando and originally signed to Columbia Records and April-Blackwood Music back in 1969. Les has written the well known French hit "La Chansons Des Souvenirs" ("Song Of A Thousand Voices") for the famous Mireille Mathieu.
Les Fradkin was also an original member / singer / guitarist for the pop group California on Laurie Records in the US and RCA Records in the UK for it's entire existence from 1973 through 1985. California had several chart records including the 1981 release "Summer Fun Medley"-a medley of Beach Boys hits, "Jeans On", "He's Almost You" (charting in the United Kingdom) and an appearance on the Dick Clark American Bandstand television show.
In 1976, Les was selected over thousands of other auditioning guitarists to appear in the original cast of the smash hit Broadway musical "Beatlemania" playing lead guitar and the part of "George Harrison" in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Running for two and a half years from May 1977 thru October 1979, every show (including over 1200 in New York alone) was sold out and the musicians quickly became celebrities with magazine cover stories ("Newsweek","Time", "People", "Rolling Stone") and many major television show appearances. With his guitar-playing in the international spotlight from the show, Fradkin developed a cult following that has avidly followed his career and made him a celebrity among guitar fans.
In the early 80's, he pioneered the introduction of tapeless recording with the SynthAxe, Roland Guitar Synthesizer and Yamaha DX7 and TX816 synthesizers recorded with the Yamaha QX1 sequencer and Synclavier 3200 in soap opera music. He also composed and programmed numerous successful jingles and movie soundtracks as well as many game show themes. He worked for Score Productions and ABC TV in New York City, wrote many national jingles (for such products as Cheerios, Campbel's Soup, Nestle's, Crisco,, American Express), 4 movie soundtracks and co wrote, programmed and played on all the music for the soap Opera "One Life To Live" for ABC-TV from 1984 thru 1988. He was the first composer to record entirely "Direct-To-Disk" in New York City. His sonic innovations at that time with the SynthAxe, Synclavier, Yamaha DX7, TX816 Digital Synthesizers and the Yamaha QX1 Sequencer earned him great accolades in the TV industry and established him as "Dr. MIDI." His dramatic ability with Scoring Cues as well as full blown themes blazed a trail that he continues today.
He has enjoyed chart success on the net as well with his songs reaching mp3.com's 1 position 16 times! New Gandy Dancer Rock Magazine named Les' CD "A Day At The Beach" it's 2004 Album Of The Year. In addition, Les has performed with The Ventures as 2nd Lead Guitarist. Nokie Edwards of The Ventures has performed with Les on several occasions and is a featured guest on his "While My Guitar Only Plays" CD. In fact, Les has been acknowledged as a guitar virtuoso for over 30 years and he has been featured in issues of 20th Century Guitar Magazine, Pipeline and New Gandy Dancer Magazines.
Today, Les has released 18 solo CD's on his RRO Entertainment Indie label and has had over 340,000 downloads bringing him several substantial hits on Apple iTunes and other download sites across the Internet.