Isn't it a  really cool feeling when you discover something or someone that surprises you and simply knocks your socks?  Entering the spacerock ring is Mr. Les Fradkin, armed with a synthesizers and samples including his featured instrument-  Starr Labs Ztar Model Z7S MIDI Guitar. But labeling Les squarely into the Spacerock genre would not be  altogether true;  combine spacerock, Jean-Michel Jarre and some progrock flair and neo-classical influences  and you can at least see where his music is reaching out to.

What I like about `One Link Between Them,' is that  Fradkin,  makes his guitar synths and  the Ztar  sing with amazing intonation as if Rick Wakeman was playing a classic synth.  His MIDI controller mades good use of  a substantial  array of equipment and samples but  never seems forced, as if he's showing out his new toy.  Drum programming is  od high standards and on ocassion reaches the height  of  brilliant, though many of the rythyms, remind me of a classic   Jean-Michel  Jarre feel.

High points to the album are:

Track 2-  `Orbiter,'  is a standout! Penned by Mr. Fradkin, the piece starts outs with some tasty Mellotron and  settles into some amazing rhythms as well some very cool leads.  Les out Jarres  Jarre on this track!

Track 3-  `From Venus with Love,'   composed by Les and Loretta Fradkin is a gorgeous melange of taste rhythms, beauty and spicy melody.   As with Orbiter, I didn't want the tracks to  end, but go on forever.  

Track 4-  is Steve Vai's `Liberty,'  Though IMHO one of the weaker tracks (due to the composition, not instrumentation),   the song really  showcases the skill and amazing technique that Les can do, when needed.

The next track is another cover,   `Caravan,'  (composed by D. Ellington, J.Ticol, I.Mills).   Les combines a Middle-eastern influence with his electronic  take on Ellington's classic. 

Track 6- `Warp Drive,' is exactly what it  is titled. Add a little Yngwie,  a dash of Jarre, some Tangerine Dream and a classical structure,  with a pulsating  rocking rhythm and you get a wild  track.  This track highlights Les' brilliant combination of expression as well as technique.

`Sailing All Alone,' like track  6 was penned by Les, and slows down the pace to showcase his  sense of beauty.  Again, the music   perfectly portrays  its title.  Tara Coker-Lewis's voice ascends the piece even higher.  Beautiful job. 

`Longing To Return'  briefly returns to the   melody and riffs of `From Venus with Love,'  but with an amazing beauty that is simply breathtaking.  This is a fantastic composition that showcases the simplicity and the sublime.  Amazing work Les! I sense a little Vangelis vibe (not soundwise), to this track.

Track 9 is my favorite, perhaps because it is the more proggier of  the album's pieces. Penned again by Les and Loretta Fradkin, the composition to me instills a sense of wonder,  some nice interplay with the Mellotron flute, oboe and some tastily bass and digital drums.  The song gets stronger as it goes though its 7  plus  minute length.  The Ztar married with  electric guitar is breathtaking!  Images of triumph permeate this song- and well it should.

Joe Meek's `Telstar'   finishes up the CD.   Again, like Vai's composition, I feel that this one of the weaker tracks  and personally, I  like  Les'  penned pieces better,   yet I do admire his daring as well as giving a nod to tunes and/or performers that he admires.

Did I mention any lows?  Nothing to talk about really, the few weaker tracks (IMHO),  are still solid because of Les'   musicality. 

All in all, I really liked this album.  The CD has enough change and interest, as well as technique to keep Prog rockers interested.  Mellotron sounds are not redundant and  over-used, and Mr. Fradkin's musicianship  marries well with the (especially his), compositions.   If you are a  fan of Jean-Michel Jarre, bands such as- Tangerine Dream,  or just like new technology; check out this artist- now!  But there is more to this  man  than simple  synths; Les combines  and transmorphs the new technology with feeling, passion and old-fashioned gusto. He knows how to rock, and can even get you on the dance floor; but also,  the music is brimming with intelligence,  emotion and care.

The only weak-point I  see is the album art.  It's bad;  top-heavy  thus giving it a poor composition.  Music of this caliber deserves better.

I can't wait to hear what this talented performer does on his next venture.  It would be neat to hear  a few longer tracks, so Les could spin his array of textures with a  larger palette. I can envision a modern Supper's ready-like epic piece coming from Les'  Ztar.  Also, it might be interesting to add a few traditional instruments into the mix, as a highlight or  accent.

A recommended buy!

9.2 out of  10  rating 


One Link Between Them
Les Fradkin- He's a Guitar legend and a successful Composer and Record Producer. He has received world recognition as the Original Cast lead guitarist "George Harrison" of the Broadway Show "Beatlemania." Les has also had over 300,000 downloads on the Internet as a producer, artist and songwriter since 1999.
(taken from Les' site)