Lawrence Roger Fast (born December 10, 1951) is an American synthesizer player and composer. He is best known for his 1975–1987 series of synthesizer music albums (Synergy) and for his contributions to a number of popular music acts, including Peter Gabriel, Foreigner, Nektar, Bonnie Tyler, and Hall & Oates.
|Born||December 10, 1951|
|Origin||Essex County, New Jersey|
|Labels||Passport, Atlantic, Voiceprint, ABC Classics|
Fast grew up in Livingston, New Jersey and attended Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, where he obtained a degree in History. There he took his previous training in piano and violin and melded them with computer science to become interested in synthesized music and to build his own primitive sound-making electronic devices.
He was introduced to Rick Wakeman, the keyboard player from the band Yes, during a local radio interview, and traveled to the UK to work with Yes on their 1974 album Tales from Topographic Oceans. It was there that he got a recording contract with Passport Records.
Fast recorded a series of pioneering synthesizer music albums under the project name Synergy.
The first album in the series, Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra, was released as an LP in 1975. Like the following albums in the series, it exclusively made use of synthesizers and electronic instruments. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Fast released eight more Synergy LPs on Passport Records, all of which were later re-released on CDs. The 1998 remastered re-release of Semi-Conductor, a compilation album originally released in 1984, contained ten additional tracks. The eleventh album in the series, Reconstructed Artifacts, was released in 2003; it contained completely new performances of select compositions from the previous albums, using modern digital synthesizers as well as new digital recording technologies.
At least two tracks from the album Audion (1981) were used as the basis for music in Commodore 64 computer games: Rob Hubbard's scores for the C64 version of Zoids and Master of Magic, which were unofficial partial-covers of songs Ancestors and Shibolet.
Synergy's first album states "..and nobody played guitar." The second album, Sequencer, says "...and still no guitars." These are rumored to be a tongue-in-cheek response to statements that appeared on albums by the rock group Queen that they used no synthesizers, which were made to inform listeners who assumed otherwise. Fast's third Synergy album, Cords, states "Finally, guitars...sort of," which references the use of a Russ Hamm Guitar Synthesizer played by Pete Sobel.
The Synergy albums are:
Fast has been developing a new Synergy album. This will be his first studio album of new material in over twenty years. According to Fast's website, it will use primarily software synthesizers (one of which is, fittingly, Sample Logic's Synergy synthesizer) rather than the hardware he had been using. He has amassed new thematic material for the album and also plans to rework old and unreleased pieces.
In addition to the Synergy albums, Fast made contributions to musical projects headed by other people:
Fast has done some work with designing listening devices for the hearing disabled; his wife had been working in the field for some time. Fast owns several patents for audio distribution using infrared optical technologies. Fast is also part of a government group aiming to protect some of New Jersey's historic assets against developers.