You might already have heard of Les Fradkin, a contributor to “dozens of Top 40 hit records” during the 70s and 80s who also starred in the hit Broadway show Beatlemania.
Aside from being classically trained to the nines, Fradkin has been on the cutting edge of the latest in musical technology. Back in the 80s, he was a pioneer of the MIDI guitar, a harbinger of the digital era that was to forever change music production and consumption.
Les Fradkin – “Lift Off”
These days, he makes a progressive symphonic rock. And so we have his album “Suite for Ztar and Orchestra in G Minor Op. 1 No.1.” Bear in mind that every sound you hear on this album is rendered by Fradkin himself.
Track 1, “Presto,” begins in ultra-modern fashion. Could almost be a dance track. But, as it turns out, dance is not the focus. Rather, the focus is a MIDI guitar, on which Fradkin performs virtuosic gymnastics.
Track 2, “Presto Variationi,” is indeed that, a variation of the previous track. With this one, however, there seems to be more of a hint of danger and misfortune. Listen to the way the note bends at 1:03…it’s as if a life was born and died tragically in that one note. That said, the song abruptly changes tone at 1:30, and goes dashing off into a totally unforeseen direction.
The track “Adagio” launches in comparatively slow, but imposing fashion. Vaguely reminds me of the intro to the solemn Ozzy ballad “Mr. Crowley.” As for Fradkin’s “Adagio” here, my favorite part doesn’t take place until the latter stage, beginning precisely at 4:36, when the track embarks on this wild juxtaposition of sounds.
“Allegro vivace” is a lively piece. And, speaking of lively, have a listen to 1:40 on the ensuing track “Moderatamento.”
With the track “Vivacemente,” things have taken a more classical turn. And the first part of the track “Lentamente” could have been performed in an 18th century opera house.
Whether he plays more in the classical or the electronic genres, Fradkin makes a strong case for himself as the Yngwie Malmsteen of MIDI. Might this supreme practitioner be due for a renewed notoriety?
Judge for yourself at:
For a visual component: http://www.youtube.com/user/lfradkin