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Sentient - Live At The Real Music Club Brighton CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 2 ratings

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4 stars This is the second album to arrive in a short space of time featuring guitar wizzard Steffe Sharpstrings, who can be counted among the expanded GONG circle - at least temporarily. After the HERE & NOW CD 'Live in London' 4 Zero Records yet comes with the debut of Steffe's new band SENTIENT. With that said, if one or two should complain like 'too much of a good thing' or so, please let me ensure that both albums are rather different. First, we have a trio here, comprising long time accompanist Steve Cassidy on drums again and bass player Gary Subassa. Gregg McKella is guesting on two songs with some restrained space bubbles in the vein of OSC's Scott Heller. That's it, keyboards are nearly missing ... except some additional synth contributions by Steffe himself.

Particular differences are that vocals play a minor role and they do have the focus on extended improvisations on this occasion - and so at least two songs are easily reaching for the twenty minute border. Though drums and bass guitar are certainly played with excellence, busy and well put, this is obviously focussed on the soloing guitar moreover. Steffe offers great variety, his complete stylistical repertoire (safe to assume), including some really distinct moments. For example I mean the pleading weeping outfit which he - similar to Daevid Allen - obtains due to a stick, to notice right at the very start of the opener Awaken. And then the song gradually moves up into a tremendous groove where Steffe appears with some rare vocals towards the end.

Due to enough variation On The Other Side offers some surprising twists and turns. They are drifting into a dub section occasionally and in between the guitar sounds like coupled with the synthesizer, close to a guitar axe somehow - serving some trance moments. Everything makes a difference then comes as a fine blues tune - provided with a suitable title the shortest sample - okay, it still bears more than seven minutes though. Nearer is the strongest reference to the aforemetioned HERE & NOW live album - a new version equivalent to 'Near And How'.

'Live At The Real Music Club Brighton' has become an impressive band introduction. Stylisticaly SENTIENT appears focussed on straightforward space rocking jams with the guitar as the main solo instrument, where - just for a comparism - Gong for example acts more oriented at jazzy respectively canterbury themes. Provided with a negative image the cover art comes close to the Ici Maintenants album recorded in 2001 by the way. Tracks one and five are my highlights due to the virtuoso way of expression. The musicans are interacting with mutual advantage, sound quality is top-notch - hence this is a recommended snapshot to keep an eye on!

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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