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Sebastian Hardie - Four Moments CD (album) cover


Sebastian Hardie


Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 118 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Australian prog pioneering Sebastian Hardie recorded in 1975 a beautiful debut album: "Four Moments" has to be one of the most attractive melodic prog albums to come out from any country outside the UK. Led by guitarist/vocalist/main writer Mario Millo, SH makes a sound very heavily influenced by 71-72 Yes, Camel and, during the slower passages of their repertoire, Focus and Pink Floyd: their style is delivered with class and skill, which provides a fresh air to the pleasantly attractive compositions that come to the fold. Actually, the tight performances don't have to face a complex labor on arrangements, since the tracks are not really that intricate, and the mood and tempo shifts are neither as dramatic nor as challenging as in the brightest moments of Yes, for example. They don't reach the level of rocking energy that Focus and Finch used to accomplish so explosively in their most incendiary tunes. Yet, the simplicity shown all throughout this album is the result of a carefully crafted labor of fluid interplaying, solidly based upon the creative interaction between guitar and keyboards, and the rhythm section's precise functioning. Millo's vocal timber predates that of Wetton's during his early 80s Asia days, albeit without the romantic affection. The emotional richness of this suite is in no small degree enhanced by Pilt's effective solos and orchestrations on organ, synthesizer and mellotron. The four-part namesake suite that occupied the A-side of the vinyl edition is an effective showcase for SH's main musical qualities. The two main motifs are laid out during the first two sections, while they're yet to be expanded along the remaining sections. The fact is that the guys of SH manage to recreate the motifs adding slight chord changes and/or extra nuances, without dragging on or meandering: the well-ordained sense of elegance that they constantly display helps to keep the listener's attention without boring them. These expansions don't lead to meaningless repetitiveness. The remaining two numbers are instrumentals: the epic tendency that was somewhat evident in the 'Four Moments' suite is now replaced by a more introspective cadence, and this is where the Focus/Finch/PF influences become more obvious. 'Rosanna' is an instrumental prog ballad that shows Millo using his delay guitar leads as guidelines for his partners to follow (organ) and sustain (drum kit and bass). The closing track, ironically titled 'Openings', starts in a similar smooth mood, although the major presence of the keyboard parts is clearly noticeable. The passage in which the mellotron comes in together with the mandolin is simply delicious; finally, the fast-paced concluding reprise ends the whole stuff in a catchy manner. All in all, this is an excellent example of well- conceived and well-performed symphonic prog rock.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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