Exposé Online banner

Robert Dick — Third Stone from the Sun
(New World 80435-2, 1993, CD)

by Rob Walker, Published 1995-07-01

Third Stone from the Sun Cover artRobert Dick is probably the world's leading proponent of avant-garde flute techniques. His recordings and teachings, including the well-known The Other Flute have opened up literally a whole new world of expression to an instrument which previously had a rather limited vocabulary, at least in common performance practice. So while at first the concept of a flautist recording a "Jimi Hendrix tribute album" may seem a bit strange, it begins to make sense when one considers the parallels in terms of pioneering work on the tonal and performance possibilities of their respective instruments. As the title might imply, that's exactly what Third Stone from the Sun is, a Hendrix tribute album. Dick attempts to recreate Hendrix's sonic universe on a considerably more benign and limited instrument, and for the most part succeeds. No, he does not play his flute through a fuzz box and octave divider, wildly rocking back and forth on a wah-wah pedal. In fact, no electronic effects were used at all, which is one of the remarkable things about this album, considering some of the sounds he manages to create. Not only does he do a noteworthy job of impersonating the aforementioned effects, but he also manages on some of the tracks, with the help of overdubs, to evoke a truly electronic atmosphere. There are four adaptations of Hendrix tunes here, ranging from the solo flute fantasy on "Purple Haze," to the more straight rendition of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," complete with bass and drums, on which Dick captures nuance for nuance Hendrix's opening solo, before taking off on one of his own. The other three tracks are Dick compositions inspired by specific Hendrix pieces and moods, and tend to be even more experimental than the covers. The bass and drums, along with a string quartet (which rarely sounds like such, though) support Dick on four of the tracks. So he captures the sound, but how well does Dick capture the soul of Hendrix's playing? Again, admirably. Whether he's painting a mood or taking one of his solos, Dick's playing is, like Hendrix, loose and full of emotion. Still, except for the recognizable main riff of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," one could quite possibly listen to this and miss the Hendrix connection completely — this music definitely falls in the avant-garde realm. Overall, Third Stone from the Sun is an impressive display of avant-garde flute techniques put into a slightly familiar context for rock listeners, and is definitely a worthwhile listen for the more explorative.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 7, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Dick

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sangiuliano - Take Off – An amazing album from 1978. Tony Sangiuliano was a one man keyboard show, assisted only by a drummer and female soprano; he could well be thought of as Italy's answer to Heaven and Hell period...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues