Patchwork Cacophony – Hourglass

Patchwork Cacophony – Hourglass

An expected surprise. I thought having bought the Broken Parachute collaboration, that a Ben Bell solo effort might bring another choice of similar highs. It doesn’t but it doesn’t need to, it has its own perfectly adequate choice, different as cheese and a badger salad. You have short pieces, almost like a Beethoven bagatelle to the more traditional progressive rock output, and vocal performance, which is also a pleasant surprise, resembling Roger Daltrey lite. I like it, okay it is not going to change the world but there are far worse listening experiences but not a single honey munching badger was harmed.

For those wondering about the badgers, I am told they are the Gandalf Fist Road Crew.

Wake Up is an atmospheric beginning. Finely conceived leading directly into Carpe Diem, so many prog musical memes and the Roger Daltrey vocal style used that uplifts the composition, prog with an essence of pop. Ben Bell serves time with several bands or band shells, such as the aforementioned Gandalf’s Fist; Broken Parachutes, and a couple more, Hourglass is Ben alone, contemporary and original, I like the structure of short track, long track. I enjoy it more with each repeated listen, loud and proud, it isn’t bad, though I think the mix could do with some slight adjustment. The vocals I believe need to come forward a bit, at other times the keys. But barring my opinion, it is good.

Carpe Diem is the first of the longer tracks at around 10 minutes and you never tire of the melodic theme as it just keeps moving forward. It feels like a travelling song, part of a journey, and as such I find it reminds me of the song from The Snowman & The Snowdog. That’s possibly a stretch of imagination too far, but hey, what entertains…

There are four Ben “bagatelle’s” – Wake Up, Perspective I, Perspective II, and Wake Up (Reprise) ranging from an intro to an almost complete song. Great in their own rights providing interesting links into the prog epics that follow. Each of the longer tracks hold your attention, produce a notable ear word, and deliver it at just about the correct length. Castaways is good and the only track I feel is a fraction too long, by about 20 seconds.

Blind Faith has quite a rock element and has that mellow side of The Who in its composition. Ben has a fine voice for this kind of Rock delivery, Rock it is, but still clinging to some Progressive credentials. Hints of many a progressive rock band, Genesis et al.

It would be easy for an artist to produce similarly sounding tracks, Ben avoids this, and the album stands repeated listens. Those who know his work from Gandalf’s Fist I hope will be pleasantly surprised. He has a good voice, and untweaked as far as I can tell. I believe this is Patchwork Cacophony’s second album so with reference to this I will seek out the first.

A variety of people helped in getting Ben the funds to package this album, and allegedly upset a few animals along the way. Half a year has passed, and I already envisage Hourglass being amongst my year end favourites, worth releasing a few un-wrangled moths and adding this to your purchase list.

Much of the music is provided by Ben Bell, the live drums by James Chapman, and the Moog solo on My Home Is Tomorrow by Pat Sanders of Drifting Sun. Enjoy this, if you feel the need, turn the volume up. That should drown out the discussions with the badgers who don’t want to be liaised.

The mix is by Ben’s fist bandmate Dean Marsh and is quite good and although I have my quibbles with the sound it does not affect the overall pleasure it brings. Buy it, enjoy, and just maybe we will get more of Ben’s noises soon and keep him in hats.

01. Wake Up (1:53)
02. Carpe Diem (10:49)
03. Perspective I (1:15)
04. Blind Faith (10:05)
05. My Home Is Tomorrow (8:23)
06. Perspective II (1:20)
07. Castaway (10:58)
08. Wake Up (2:15)

Total Time – 46:56

Ben Bell – All Instruments
~ With:
James Chapman – Drums (2,4,5 & 7)
Pat Sanders – Moog Solo (5)

Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 1st May 2024

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