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Windchase - Symphinity CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.18 | 83 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Windchase is the shadow of Sebastian Hardie that produced some of Australia's most progressive 70s albums. Mario Millo on guitars and vocals moved onto a solo career in later years but before this he was an essential part of Windchase. He was also joined by ex- Sebastian Hardie keyboardist Toivo Pilt. Both were integral to the Sebastian Hardie albums "Four moments" in 1975 and "Windchase" in 1976. The following year in 1977 Windchase was formed as a new project, equally progressive but a fair amount more rhythmic notably with the addition of Doug Bligh on drums, and Duncan MgGuire on bass.

Mario Millo is a great smooth vocalist on the sole Windchase album "Symphinity",and he also plays mandolin, acoustic guitars and tubular bells. His colleague and good friend, Toivo Pilt, has a powerful presence on Hammond C3 L-111 organ, grand piano, Mini Moog, Fender Rhodes, mellotron, Arp 2600, Solina, Omni string synth, clavinet D6, handclaps and vocals.

The music is organic and flowing throughout on such wonderful songs as 'Horsemen to Symphinity', a mini epic that moves in a myriad of musical directions, and the instrumental 'Gypsy' that showcases the beautiful guitar work of Millo. I like the way this sounds like Camel in places and has an uplifting tempo and melody.

For a more rhythmic feel we can turn to 'Glad to be Alive', a sheer optimistic poppy approach, and the heavier tempos of 'No Scruples' which is replete with magical keyboard wizardry and some Yes-like harmonies. Pilt's keyboards are precise and have that atmospheric 70s spacey texture in tone; a bit like the style of Emerson. He is joined by a stirring lead guitar solo in the lengthy instrumental section; simply incredible music on this highlight track. 'Lamb's Fry' is the longest track at 9:39, an instrumental beginning with sizzling fry pan, and then bubbles along with chiming keys, a lamb bleating, and locks into a smooth groove with Omni string synth. The spacey sound of Moog takes over along a 2 chord jangling rhythm guitar motif. Pilt is in his element on keys but allows Millo to inject one of his trademark lead guitar breaks. This is one of the best pieces of music from Windchase, a veritable jam session where the musicians are able to unleash their talents as they desire.

To close the album there is a brief Hackett-like acoustic piece, 'Non Siamo Perfetti', and then 'Flight Call'. The return to vocals is startling after all the instrumentals. I always find the vocals relaxing, and this has some beautiful Mellotron strings. The CD has the bonus 'Horsemen To Symphinity (live performance - Mario Millo & men from mars 1998)' which is the excellent album track with extra filling clocking almost 12 minutes, featuring extended drum solo and dynamic lead break; a great bonus.

Overall it is a very relaxing album, though not without some flaws, and a wonderful example of 70s Aus prog. The album cover is one of the best for Aus prog, with mystical imagery, psychedelic colours and trippy artwork; UFOs and Ancient Egypt always works for me! Well worth seeking out as a vinyl treasure, quite rare, and a terrific one off album showcasing these very talented musicians.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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