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Sebastian Hardie - Four Moments CD (album) cover


Sebastian Hardie


Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 136 ratings

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4 stars I used to be very down on this album when I first heard it, because I heard what what the harsher critics here also heard - the derivative nature of the music (sounding very much like Focus, Camel, and in parts of the title track like Yes - the guy who sold me the album described Sebastian Hardie to me as his favourite Yes cover band), the commercial pop edge (I could hear the Air Supply comparison too), and also just the general simplicity of the music where I wanted to hear complexity - the fact that eg "Openings" basically repeats the same chord pattern for 13 minutes without much variation. I still do not regard it as a masterpiece, but I've come to love it over time, particularly the title suite on side one. Firstly, one has to admit that it has a couple of great melodic hooks - you can't help but like it. Secondly, it is very well-constructed, the different sections flowing seamlessly, and strongly unified through the recapitulation of the major themes at different points. Most of prog's side-long epics, even some of the greatest (even much revered examples like "Close To The Edge"), have some feeling of having been scotch-taped together. "Four Moments" does not have that feeling - it is a structurally sound piece that carries your interest from beginning to end without ever jarring. And then (more obviously on the CD release), the final coda sets up a theme that will recur in the first track on side two, "Rosanna". Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the construction of this album. I'm not as excited by side two. "Rosanna" is a pretty piece, a melodic guitar driven instrumental, but not essential, and "Openings" never really goes anywhere, although it's nice enough as background music. Australia was not an hospitable environment for symphonic prog - local exponents of the sub-genre did not begin to appear until the mid 70s (after the genre had peaked elsewhere), they were few, and Sebastian Hardie was the only one to have any level of commercial success (probably because of Mario Millo's ability to weave great pop hooks into his symphonic epics). I agree not the best Australia has to offer, and not offering anything radically different, but still some mighty fine music
sl75 | 4/5 |


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