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11 Jun 2016

Patch “ The Star Suite” 1973 Australia Prog Symphonic

Patch “ The Star Suite” 1973 Australia Prog Symphonic


‘The Star Suite’ is an interpretation of the Four Elements of the Zodiac: Air, Fire, Water & Earth by an all Australian studio band called Patch.
The idea of this Aussie project, based in Melbourne, was conceived by renowned producer Peter Dawkins (Dragon, Billy Thorpe, Australian Crawl, Billy T, Rabbit, Mi Sex Pseudo Echo and Air Supply), who gathered a line-up of rock veterans and session musicians to play music inspired by the four elements of the Zodiac. “The star suite” came out in 1973 on the Harvest label.

Patch was mainly made up of Ariel and Taman Shud personnel, guitarist and fine folk singer /songwriter, Mike McClellan and others. It is not hard to pick out Spectrum / Ariel’s Mike Rudd’s guitar in the mix along with keyboardist Tony Esterman, New Zealander Rod Coe on bass and drummer Doug Gallacher, later of Madden & Harris.

They were supported by a number of guests, like percussionist Ian Bloxsom from Crossfire, Tony Ansell on organ, bassist Bill Putt, also of Spectrum and Ariel, cellist Nathan Waks, Ariel’s and Taman Shud’s guitarist Tim Gaze and saxophonist Doug Foskett.
Four long, instrumental tracks with a gentle atmosphere was what Patch had created and the opening “Air” sounds pretty promising, despite its soft and elaborate atmosphere, it sounds like the instrumental efforts of Goldon Giltrap, featuring a heavy acoustic content next to some jazzy keyboards and mellow electric guitars and swirling around orchestral, Fusion and light, psychedelic overtones.I am afraid that the next three pieces are not as good, even if the extended running times give promise for some charming musicianship.“Fire” holds a very long Classical-drenched harpsichord theme, which is not really memorable, then the music sinks into a mellow Fusion style with decent organ and electric piano, before evolving into some kind of electric Folk Rock.

“Water” is without question the jazziest cut of the album, but it lacks the nerve and density of the better bands of the style, again the keyboard work is worth mentioning, but I can find no relation between the stretched jazzy experiments and the following Psych/Folk environments on acoustic guitar and organ. “Earth” is a constantly developing Fusion piece, opening with flute and acoustic guitars, synthesisers and calm electric textures take over, but the addition of sax after the middle make this one sound more like Jazz Funk.

The music is entirely instrumental and is progressive at its best. Despite being made up of only 4 tracks and being over 40 minutes long, it is by no means boring. It has an ethereal, dreamy feel, building to great climaxes, all rather good, really. Overall, the music is generally better than the awful cover.

Tracks Listing
01.  Air (9:15)
02.  Fire (10:41)
03.  Water (10:57)
04.  Earth (11.14)

Line-up / Musicians
- Peter Dawkins / concept, composer, producer
- Mike Rudd / electric guitar, composer
- Mike McClellan / acoustic guitar, composer
- Doug Gallacher / drums
- Tony Esterman / keyboards
- Rod Coe / bass

Supporting Musicians:

- Bill Putt / bass (4)
- Tony Ansell / organ (2,3)
- Nathan Waks / electric cello (1,4)
- Tim Gaze / electric guitar (1,2,4)
- Ian Bloxham / percussion (3,4)
- The Bennelong Trio, Peter Draper / guitar (4, opening)
- The Bennelong Trio, Brian Strong / cello (4, opening)
- The Bennelong Trio, Nick Negerovich / flute (4, opening)
- Mike Perjanik / ARP synthesizer (1-3)
- Doug Fosket / saxophone (4)  'Awesome solo by the way !

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..