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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dave Sturt

Dreams & Absurdities

Review by Gary Hill

Dave Sturt is probably best known as a member of Gong and Bill Nelson’s band. Here he has given us a very unique album. This is mostly mellow, but it manages to rock. It’s not like most music you’ve heard. It’s a bit on the strange side, but also quite compelling at the same time. With a number of guest performers (including Nelson), if you like the work of Gong and Bill Nelson, you’ll probably find plenty to like here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Mirage

The first minute of this is less like music and more like seemingly random blips and other noises. It works out to a mellow and quite pretty melodic journey from there. World music, fusion and more merge as the piece continues its forward path. I love everything about this, but the bass work in particular really shines. Of course, that’s basically the lead instrument for a while here. The flute takes command for a while later.

Transcendence
This is built around mellow waves of sound. It’s trance-like. There really isn’t a lot of driving melody, instead feeling like a cloud drifting along.
Hollow Form
There is some cool guitar soloing on this piece. It’s mellow soloing, though. The bass work stands out, too. This is still quite a sedate piece, but there is quite a bit going on here at the same time. It turns more rocking later and Theo Travis guests providing a tasty saxophone solo. I love the still mellow, but more powered up jam that ensues beyond that.
Bouncing like Gagarin
This comes in very mellow and classical in nature. It works out with a bit of a jazz vibe, but still quite stripped back and classical. There is a spoken (female) vocal here.
Jaffa Market
There is less world music sound on this than one would assume given the title. It’s a cool jam that starts mellow and then eventually builds out to a rhythmic groove before coming up even more. Then it drops down again and percussion brings it back into being.  Steve Hillage guests on this song.
(In My Head) I’m Swimming
Mellower and more tentative, this still focuses on melody more than pure atmosphere. It’s a short cut.
Unique and Irreplaceable
Weird piano starts this, and the cut builds out from there with a rather classical music bent. Eventually it shifts to strange atmospherics as it continues moving forward. It turns toward a bizarre sort of atmospheric space soundtrack. Daevid Allen guests here.
Dreams & Absurdities
This tarts with atmospherics and weird found sounds, including a fish seller hawking his goods. A melodic arrangement starts to emerge from there. As odd as this is, I love it. It’s my favorite piece here. It’s so beautiful and powerful. 
White & Greens in Blue
Although this is echoey and atmospheric, piano is one of the driving factors. Bill Nelson appears on this song. He shows up in a later section where it rises up into more rock territory as he weaves lines of melodic guitar over the top.
Vast Indifference
Atmospherics and pretty sounds make up this piece that’s a solo one from Sturt. It’s a cool way to end such a unique set.
 
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