Dave Sturt: Dreams And Absurdities

Dream guests on the solo debut by Gong/Bill Nelson bassist.

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Dave Sturt has played with Bill Nelson, Gong and the re-formed, 80s version of underrated band Jade Warrior, so it’s little surprise there’s a whiff of an exotic, Fourth World feel to this collection.

When Sturt’s formidable bass is to the fore his free-rolling melodic figures and harmonic sparks make up the melodic meat of the track; they’re not just an exercise in flash. Each piece only has a few major elements, such as drifting keyboards and guitar on the lovely Transcendence, but the compositions always feel substantial, and there’s texture too. Initially just double-tracked bass and brushed snare drum, Hollow Form becomes a delicious, song-like piece thanks to Theo Travis’ sax melodies. Bill Nelson guides the sweetest guitar lines through ruminative bass and reverbed piano notes (White & Greens In Blue); Kavus Torabi’s E-Bowed guitar drifts sleekly through the brief bass meditation ((In My Head) I’m Swimming). Steve Hillage’s echoey guitar meshes in with the percussion and found sounds on Jaffa Market, and Unique And Irreplaceable is given a sonic depth of field by the late great Daevid Allen’s ever-mysterious glissando guitar. Dreamy.

Mike Barnes

Mike Barnes is the author of Captain Beefheart - The Biography (Omnibus Press, 2011) and A New Day Yesterday: UK Progressive Rock & the 1970s (2020). He was a regular contributor to Select magazine and his work regularly appears in Prog, Mojo and Wire. He also plays the drums.