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SEBASTIAN HARDIE

Symphonic Prog • Australia


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Sebastian Hardie biography
Sebastain Hardie is one of those rare '70s Australian prog groups (there just weren't that many of them). The first attempt at this band was formed in 1967 by bassist Peter Plavsic, and guitarist Graham Ford, under the moniker Sebastian Hardie Blues Band. This incarnation did not last long. In 1968 Plavsic and Ford tried again, with drummer Alex Plavsic (Peter's brother), keyboardist Anotol Kononowsk, and vocalist Joe English. This time the 'blues band' was left off the name. They had much success as a rock cover band, and even became the backing band for Australian legend Johnny O'keefe. Anotol left the next year to pursue his education, and the band continued without a replacement.

In 1972 Jon left to play Judas in "Jesus Christ Superstar," which led to a successful solo career. Alex also left to join the band Tapestry. This venture wouldn't last through the end of the year. Alex brought along Tapestry's keyboardist Steve Dunne for another reformation of Sebastian Hardie (including Peter and Graham). This time they started to dabble in some progressive experimentation, while primarily remaining a cover band.

Things really began to take shape over the next couple of years, when Mario Millo replaced Ford, and Toivo Pilt replaced Dunne. This incarnation focused on an original musical direction, and would become Australia's first symphonic prog sensation.

1975's "Four Moments" was a huge success, and the track "Rosanna" won an award for best instrumental single. "Windchase" was released in 1976, and both albums are considered (by some people) to be prog classics. They at least stand out in the realm of Australian symphonic.

Soon after the release of the second album, the band broke up. Millo and Pilt adopted the name Windchase, and released one album. 1977's "Symphinity" stayed close to the Hardie sound, but didn't find much of an audience.

Pilt has gone on to write music for television advertising. The Plavsic brothers got involved with the business side of the music industry. Millo has had a great amount of success as a solo artist and film composer. The original four-man group reunited for some gigs in the early '90s.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

Sebastian Hardie official website

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Four MomentsFour Moments
Import
Musea 1975
Audio CD$12.49
$9.11 (used)
BlueprintBlueprint
Import
BELLE ANTIQUE JPN 2015
Audio CD$26.05
$34.21 (used)
WindchaseWindchase
Import
Musea 1976
Audio CD$16.34
$11.50 (used)
Live In Los Angeles 1994Live In Los Angeles 1994
Extra tracks · Import
Musea 1994
Audio CD$8.66
$93.00 (used)
BlueprintBlueprint
Import
Imports 2012
Audio CD$21.99
Four MomentsFour Moments
Import · Single · Remastered
Universal Japan 2004
Audio CD$39.98
$20.71 (used)
LIVE IN LA by SEBASTIAN HARDIE (2000-02-23)LIVE IN LA by SEBASTIAN HARDIE (2000-02-23)
PID
Audio CD$88.84
Windchase by SEBASTIAN HARDIE (2001-01-01)Windchase by SEBASTIAN HARDIE (2001-01-01)
Musea
Audio CD$279.24
Blueprint by ImportsBlueprint by Imports
Imports
Audio CD$68.91
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SEBASTIAN HARDIE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SEBASTIAN HARDIE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 110 ratings
Four Moments
1975
3.24 | 49 ratings
Windchase
1976
3.67 | 69 ratings
Blueprint
2011

SEBASTIAN HARDIE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.37 | 15 ratings
Live in LA
1997

SEBASTIAN HARDIE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SEBASTIAN HARDIE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SEBASTIAN HARDIE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SEBASTIAN HARDIE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blueprint by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 69 ratings

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Blueprint
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars I realized Sebastian Hardie reunited in the 1990s to play at Progfest '95, but then I never expected any brand new material to surface from these guys, but that's what happened in 2012. It's the same guys as before, Mario Miller, brothers Alex and Peter Plavsic, and Toivo Pilt. This album is really a mixed bag, there are some simply incredible passages that's just as good as anything they did on Four Moments, but then the music often switches towards a more mainstream style. During these more mainstream moments I get reminded of what I hear on public radio, especially when Mario Millio starts singing. I feel like this group was doing what too many prog rock bands in the American Midwest were doing in the 1970s: trying to please their artistic ambitions, and throw in some crowd pleasers and radio friendly material, but here's it's Aussie style, although Australia wasn't known for bands doing that "of two minds" approach that Midwestern American bands, like Kansas had done. Not that Sebastian Hardie sounds anything like Kansas, in many ways, Blueprint still sounds like Sebastian Hardie with a more updated sound. There's still Mellotron from Toivo Pilt, actually I believe it's samples this time (I can imagine him frustrated with the tron back in the day as Four Moments is loaded with it, while Windchase has quite a bit less, and Symphinity only had a bit on one song). I like it when they have a more ominous tone, so when they try to sound "bright" is not to my liking too much. Get it, because it does has some worthy material, but it's not a classic.
 Blueprint by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 69 ratings

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Blueprint
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sebastian Hardie was easily Australiaīs prime prog band at the 70īs with two classic albums: Four Season (1975) and Windchase (1976). Although the original band did reunite for some shows during the early 90īs I donīt think anyone really took seriously a new studio album of original songs. Most reunion albums are a waste of time and I was quite surprised when I found that the classic line up was back again and had indeed recorded a full set of new songs. And even more surprised by the fact that the new CD, Blueprint was a very good one!

Blueprint was released early in 2016 in Brazil. Although I had heard it by the time it was released, I was eager to get the beautiful jewel case edition. Thatīs when I found out that I did not write a review for this album. Sebastian Hardie is an interesting band that has its particular way of delivering a symphonic progressive rock that is not as flashy or as pompous as Yes or ELP, but closer to the more discreet dutch legends Focus (minus the flute and with "real" vocals, if you know what I mean). This is specially true for the final track, the unfortunately short instrumental, Shame. So we have some fine vintage sounding keyboards (Hammond, mellotron, ARP strings) and, with a tight rhythm section, making a exquisite musical background landscape for Mario Millo excellent guitar work (yes, sometimes he seems to be uncanny emulating Jan Akkerman, but never a copycat). Millo was never a terrific singer, and yet his vocals are just perfect for this kind of music.

As for the songs themselves they are all excellent, very much as the classic Sebastian Hardie sound, with a more sophisticated and modern recording, of course. The album was very well produced and mixed. I also enjoyed the jazzy elements that can be found on several parts, like in Another String..., quite different from the rest fo the tunes. The only fault (if you can call it that) I found with Blueprint is its relatively short running time, leaving just a little more than 40 minutes of music. But this is the kind of CD you hear from beginning to end with the same pleasure. And probably, like me, youīll listen to it again after the last chords fade away, feeling it ended just too soon.

Certainly this is one fo the best comebacks ever.

Rating: something between 4 and 4,5 stars. Highly recommended!

 Four Moments by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.83 | 110 ratings

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Four Moments
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars You canīt argue with the fact that this band produced some really competent progressive music, albeit on the softer side. Now, that is by no means a complaint. Itīs just an aural observation. In fact, the music contained herein is very pleasant in a soothing fashion. It flows and transcends great waves of keyboard oriented prog. Iīm a sucker for a lot of keyboards. My favorite being the hammond but on this you get, among other things, a great moog, such as in the opening "Four moments - Glories shall be released".

To sum up the "voice" of Sebastian Hardie I hear echoes of Camel, the softer side of Genesis and maybe a bit of Supertramp. That is quite a good combo and the result is very good. The "Four moments" suite is very enjoyable with recurring themes and warm ambiance. "Rosanna" is an instrumenal piece of progressive pop. The best piece is the ending "Openings". It opens with a warm hammond, a slightly distorted guitar and mellow drums. A very nice piece of music, that is. I like it when I get the sensation of gliding through space and that is exactly the sensation here. Though it is very reminiscent of Camel it is still a very good piece.

Though competent and highly enjoyable I still cannot rate this album higher than three stars. It lacks something. Maybe it is too reminding of Camel or that the songs are too alike? I cannot really tell but the general sensation after the disc has been spun is simply good but not more than that. Sometimes that is quite enough and I do like the feeling this album gives me. It is very warm and soothing, without too complicated edges. It is just right for late night conversations or when relaxing.

So, a good album made by a competent band. Three stars and hats off for the effort.

 Blueprint by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 69 ratings

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Blueprint
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Australia is hardly a hot-bed of progressive music talent, so it was a welcome surprise to discover so many years ago that the country I call home produced an exceptionally good symphonic band in the form of Sebastian Hardie (that's a band name, not a dude!). During the mid-Seventies, the group produced two first-rate albums in the grand symphonic prog style (three albums if you count the `third' album `Symphinity' that saw an altered line-up of the band change their name to Windchase). All were highlighted by lengthy instrumental runs from Toivo Pilt's gorgeous sweeping keyboards and Mario Millo's soaring epic guitar solos. Their debut album `Four Moments' was not only a landmark album for Australian progressive music, but for symphonic prog of the era in general, and it was as good as anything coming out from around the rest of the world at that time.

Like many prog bands from back then, changing musical tastes saw the band split up (Mario Millo would still go on to release a quality solo album `Epic III' in 1979 after the group folded), but it was the opportunity to support symphonic legends Yes in Australia in March 2003 that saw the band reform for the occasion, and the members were inspired enough to eventually record some new compositions. So almost thirty years since their initial works, the band returned in 2011 with the perfectly titled `Blueprint' that more or less picks up where their Seventies works left off, with an added touch of melodic classic rock, and the passage of time has not dulled their musical skills in the least!

While opener `I Wish' holds a thoughtful lyric about missed opportunities and regret that taps into the rich heritage of classic Australian rock, much of the piece revolves around mellow foot-tapping instrumental moments by way of a variety of vintage Mellotron, Hammond and Moog sounds and laid-back guitar soloing. The amusingly titled instrumental `Vuja de' jumps back and forth in tempo, all prancing Hammond and up- tempo driving beats with scratchy rollicking Hammond organ one second, jazzy vibes and dreamy electric guitar fire the next. `Art of Life' is a pleasant, laid-back ballad-rocker sung with warmth, and the sedate `I Remember' includes several minutes of ringing honey- dipped guitar themes and vintage keyboard flights in the classic Sebastian Hardie manner around a smooth tune.

With its mix of tricky instrumental twists and quirky boisterous vocal interjections, `Another String' wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Spock's Beard album, and Alex Plavsic's snappy drumming and Peter Plavsic's punchy heavy bass really shine on this one, as too does Millo's lengthy slow-burn bluesy guitar wailing. After leading with some cosy acoustic flavours, brisk album closer `Shame' is revealed to be a lovely little instrumental along the lines of the most romantic passages of bands like Camel and Rousseau, with a finale in the manner of the most victorious Flower Kings moments.

Yes, `Blueprint' does reflect the age of the musicians, and it's hardly cutting edge by any stretch of the imagination, but everything is performed with such relaxed taste, played with a lightness of touch and given a fuzzy warm restrained production. Skilled instrumental runs blend seamlessly with strong melodies and pleasant vocals to bring a fine mix of lightly symphonic prog and the sort of classic rock that Australian artists do so well, and the forty minute vinyl length running time means it's not overlong or jammed with filler material. It invokes memories of those precious earlier Sebastian Hardie albums, yet also stands on its own modern merits just fine. There's not too many acts their age that release new albums and emerge with their dignity intact, but Sebastian Hardie can hold their heads high with a worthy release that doesn't destroy their legacy.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four stars for this classy effort.

 Four Moments by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.83 | 110 ratings

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Four Moments
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

5 stars Mellotron and guitar dominate.

Without any doubt, Four Moments is the transcendent work of Millo and company, including any work that its members have participated, together or separately.

The title track to the album, with its four sections, is one of the classic epic that contains all the ingredients necessary: symphonic, variety and musical passion. An essential work.

Rosanna is a delicate piece, more intimate. The Millo skills as a guitarist are displayed, as in Openings. It consolidates the power of band to perform with balance, strength and melody. The only shortcoming I find in it, and the album itself is its length. It gets a bit repetitive in their main guitar lines.

Obvious references to Camel, and some Focus too. However, the compositions are distinctive and interesting, and memorable perfomance.

4,5 stars.

 Blueprint by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 69 ratings

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Blueprint
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by KeepItDark

4 stars From memory, I first heard Sebastian Hardie at Melbourne University in the mid or late 70's with a cover of Tubular Bells. A very impressive four piece perhaps on the softer side of Yes and Genesis.

Their first two releases "Four Moments" and "Windchase" were well received by local prog fans. It has been a 35 year wait for the third release "Blueprint" although guitarist Mario Millo has released several albums (and soundtracks) in the intervening years.

Blueprint follows very much in the same vein as "Four Moments" and "Windchase" and I am certain some of the earlier themes have been revisited.

Toivo Plit's keyboards are close to Tony Banks' style with some nice restrained keyboard solos, Mario Millo's guitar is reminiscent of the softer side of Steve Howe but neither dominants.

Overall, this is a very good collection of tracks. Maybe the lyrics are a bit puerile but this is mainly an instrumental album with very limited singing.

It does leave the listener wondering what may have been had these guys continued through the 80s and 90s. They certainly had the strength in musical ability with Plit and Millo and songwriting to deliver some classics?but now are most likely to become a footnote in prog history

Recommended for 70's prog fans. 3.5 stars.

 Blueprint by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 69 ratings

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Blueprint
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars If you're looking for the cutting edge of contemporary prog rock, you won't find it here - but then, if you were looking for the cutting edge, you would never have been a Sebastian Hardie fan in the first place. Apart from the considerably more ragged vocals, there is nothing here that doesn't sound like it was recorded in Sebastian Hardie's mid 70s heyday - Toivo Pilt uses the same keyboards, Mario Millo has the same melodic guitar style, and the same ability to suddenly reel off a searing solo. On the downside, he still also has his sentimental pop side - most to the fore on "Art of Life", an expression of nostalgia for their past glories allied with an attempt at a profound statement on advancing age. (Mike Rudd from Spectrum covered those themes so much more thoughtfully on their recent Breathing Space EPs.) One disappointment is that Millo has reasserted his stranglehold on the compositional credits - I'm one of the rare people who preferred Windchase's Symphinity to the first two Sebastian Hardie albums, largely because Toivo Pilt asserted himself far more as a composer in the renamed band, and I found his music more interesting than Millo's.

So nothing cutting edge, just a well-captured rediscovery of the classic 70s symphonic sound. And why not?

 Blueprint by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 69 ratings

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Blueprint
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It's been over 35 years since Australia's own SEBASTIAN HARDIE released a studio album. And as you might expect they've created a modern sounding album that is more in the Prog- Related style instead of the Symphonic genre like in their early days. And yes they have retired the mellotron unfortunately. A mixed bag here really in my opinion, but I was impressed with a couple of tracks.

"I Wish" is very uplifting until it settles before 3 1/2 minutes and the vocals come in. The magic suddenly leaves. "Vuja De" kicks into gear before 1 1/2 minutes to an uptempo instrumental. This is really good. "Art Of Life" is a relaxed and reflective vocal track. Not a fan.

"I Remember" doesn't have vocals until before 3 minutes as a hazy mood sets in. I like the lyrics too. Nice guitar before 6 minutes. Good song. "Another Spring" is probably my favourite. I really like the instrumental section 2 1/2 minutes. Some excellent organ and guitar work here. Vocals return 6 minutes in. "Shame" ends it and it's an okay tune.

A good album but nothing more in my world. Great to have them back though.

 Blueprint by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 69 ratings

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Blueprint
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Blueprint' - Sebastian Hardie (7/10)

Sebastian Hardie was among the few classic prog rock bands to come out of Australia. Although I had never heard of them before this comeback, I am led to believe they put out a pair of records back in he heyday of 'prog', both of which having now received the status of an underground gem. The past year has seen many of the classic prog bands- both legendary and obscure- come out with something new, and considering that the last album by this group dropped in 1976, there has been quite some down time for Sebastian Hardie. 'Blueprint' is a matured and tender reflection upon life, and though the band's sound comes across as a little tame, 'Blueprint' is an enjoyable slice of melodic prog that's bound to earn the band some fans in the new millennium.

Sebastian Hardie's music draws from the same set of sound as classic-era Genesis, though their approach is noticeably more melodic. Although Sebastian Hardie's style is a little too based in the lush orchestration of symphonic prog to call them 'AOR', 'Blueprint' does not underrate the importance of melody . The more accessible tracks, 'I Wish' and 'Art of Life' are filled with memorable vocal lines from singer Mario Millo, whose voice feels strong, if not very distinctive. The lyrics here are nostalgic and filled with reflections upon life. Like much of the music on 'Blueprint', the lyrics tend to wash harmlessly over the listener, for better and worse. Sebastian Hardie give a fairly optimistic view of life, at times brushing against the threshold of cheesiness. Although the vocal melodies feel fairly tame and predictable from a 'prog' standpoint, there is passion and sincerity here, and unlike plenty of like-sounding artists who disguise themselves behind a wall of esoteric lyrical nonsense, Sebastian Hardie keep their message straight and to the point.

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, Sebastian Hardie's melodies are at their best when they are purely instrumental. Although the songwriting is often built around the singing, the instrumental passages on 'Blueprint' are what really elevate it above mere decency. The instrumentals are rooted in the canon of symphonic prog, complete with lush keyboards and guitar flourishes that remain difficult to dissociate from Yes' Steve Howe. Tracks 'Vuja De' and 'Shame' are excellently composed pieces of music. Although the instrumentation may at times flirt with complexity, the melody is still at the forefront of what Sebastian Hardie are aiming for with their music, but it comes off as much more interesting than the more restrained vocal moments. 'Blueprint' is essentially a split between the excellent symphonic prog instrumentals and decent, laid-back art rock. The two directions Sebastian Hardie take with the album are similar stylistically, but weigh differently in terms of perceived quality and enjoyment. Had Sebastian Hardie put out a full album that rivaled the orchestration of 'Vuja De' or the album's closer, I would have been blown away. As it stands, 'Blueprint' is a very good, but not quite excellent record from the Australian group. Symphonic, or even Neo Prog lovers will find much to love in this, but the album fails to impress me throughout.

 Windchase by SEBASTIAN HARDIE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.24 | 49 ratings

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Windchase
Sebastian Hardie Symphonic Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars This album is pleasant, but slight. Which was also a good description of their first album. However, this is easily the inferior product. The title epic from Four Moments was in some ways one of the best constructed symphonic prog epics ever - not overly ambitious, not overly complex, but with sections that flowed seamlessly and an overall sense of unity. The title epic of Windchase completely lacks this quality. The music listlessly moves from one moderately interesting section to another, with no real feeling of unity, despite the late and half-hearted attempt at a rhythmically-transformed recapitulation of the original theme. The second side contains one cheesy pop song in "Life Love and Music" (this time Paul McCartney's Wings seem to have displaced Air Supply as their chief pop influence), and several slight instrumentals. It's not a bad record, but it's not an exciting one either.
Thanks to Prog Lucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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