Patch - The Star Suite
Studio Album, released in 1973
Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Air (9:15)
2. Fire (10:41)
3. Water (10:57)
4. Earth (11.14)
Total Time 42:07
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
- 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 !'
Harvest (EMI Australia) SHVL.612
Producer: Peter Dawkins
Engineering: John Taylor, with additional engineering by Martin Benge
Rip: Saturnino Gordon
'The Star Suite' is an interpretation of the Four Elements of the Zodiac: Air, Fire, Water & Earth
It is basically the brainchild of Peter Dawkins, drummer of New Zealand origin and later an Aussie producer, including for Spectrum
Dawkins conceived, co-wrote and produced the whole thing, a concept album based on, rather obviously, astrological themes.
The band is made up mainly of Ariel personnel, this band being Spectrum in pop diguise, guitarist and fine singer - songwriter, Mike McClellan and others. It is not hard to pick out Spectrum / Ariel's Mike Rudd's guitar in the mix.
The music is entirely instrumental and is prog 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. The music, by the way, is rather better than the awful cover.
The idea of this Aussie project, based in Melbourne, was conceived by producer Peter Dawkins, who gathered a line-up of rock veterans and session musicians to play music inspired by the four elements of the Zodiac:Spectrum and Ariel's Mike Rudd on guitars, keyboardist Tony Esterman, New Zealander Rod Coe on bass, Folk singer Mike McClellan on acoustic guitar 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.''The star suite'' came out in 1973 on Harvest.
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 ar not that good, even if the extended running times give promise for some charming musicianship.''Fire'' holds a very long Classical-drenched harpsichord theme, which is hardly memorable, then the music sinks into a mellow Fusion style with decent organ and electric piano, before evolving into somekind of electric Folk Rock.Not the most coherent effort of the world.''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 enviroments on acoustic guitar and organ.''Earth'' is a constantly developing Fusion piece, opening with flute and acoustic guitars, synths and calm electric textures take over, but the addition of sax after the middle make this one sound more like Jazz Funk.Overstretched and weak as a whole.
Forgettable combination between Jazz Rock, Folk Rock, Fusion and Psychedelia.Very relaxing overall, close to the likes of Gordon Giltrap or the Argentinian Julio Presas.This kind of music requires some incredible inspiration to be appreciated within its softness, Patch were not among the best bands to perform this style though