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28 Sep 2016

Sebastian Hardie “Windchase” 1976 Australia Prog Symphonic Rock

Sebastian Hardie “Windchase” 1976 Australia Prog Symphonic Rock

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) …progarchives…..
Australian prog band Sebastian hardie released their second complete album Windchase an year after their debut. the music is quite similar of that album, Four Moments, maybe a little more jazzier in parts. Still their basic formula of mixing influences by Focus, Camel and Yes is very much alive and well. Unfortunatly they did not come up with something as strong as their best (Openings) from the first CD. The opening tune, the massive 20 minute title track, is very good and it is obvious the band was trying to expand their musical pallette a little more. It is an excellent epic, but could not beat the power and inspiration of Openings.
The remaining tras are also very good, smaller songs with nice melodies and nice arrangements. Some reviewers here seem to mock them for being too laid back and for not making their songs more elaborated and complex. I´m not among them. Their simpler, melodic approach is their very own charm and personality. While some bands are very much the musical press favorites, Others are bashed because they simply play what they want and have an audience bigger than those ´better´groups. Sometimes the criticism to progressive rock is right: many bands are too complex and play for complexity´s sake. Music for musicians, as we say in Brazil. Sebastian Hardie plays a very nice symphonic rock that is accessible but is also very good and has the right influences. they are no better nor worse than any other group. Only different. And I like it a lot.
That said I must also warn you that their sophmore release is not as good as their debut. They were on the right track to find a new, maybe a more elaborated, sound. It was a pity that the times were changing and they didn´t have the chance to have a follow up to this one. It would be very interesting to see how far they would go. They were talented and had a very nice chemistry together. If you liked their debut, chances are you gonna enjoy this one very much too. Just don´t expect too mcuh…. progarchives….
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Windchase (20:37) 
2. At the End (4:04) 
3. Life, Love and Music (4:23) 
4. Hello Phimistar (3:41) 
5. Peaceful (4:10)
Line-up / Musicians
- Mario Millo / vocals, guitars 
- Toivo Pilt / keyboards, mellotron 
- Alex Plavsic / drums, percussion 
- Peter Plavsic / bass

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..