Finally, Patchwork Cacophony’s third album! The previous two - were well received, 2014's self-titled debut and 2016's ‘Five of Cups’, and I have been waiting in slavering anticipation for this to drop.

Patchwork Cacophony is the solo work of Ben Bell – keyboards player with Gandalf’s Fist, Fusion Orchestra 2 and Broken Parachute. The album also features a cameo synth solo
by Drifting Sun's Pat Sanders and drums throughout from James Chapman.

Sometimes, solo projects can be difficult to understand - the artist understands what they want to say and hears their vision clearly presented, but the listener hears a mess of unclear themes and concepts.
Thankfully, Ben Bell has a lot of experience playing with other bands and artists and has avoided the traps.

It’s a terrific listen. Bell is a superb keyboards player and has a fine voice. Musically, this takes the listener through massive keyboard solos, pounding drums – albeit with real finesse, especially in his cymbal work – as well as sweet tones and constant changes in pace and rhythm.

There was a period, in the late ‘60’s and early seventies, when keyboard – and especially organ – bands were the leaders in the progressive rock movement. I am thinking of bands such as The Nice, Atomic Rooster, Quatermass and Refugee, largely coming from a jazz and R&B core, rather than straight Blues. Many parts of this album remind me of those, but that is coupled with guitar lines and changes that are far closer to bands like Gandalf’s Fist and Tool.

There are four long numbers and 4 shorter ones which switch the pace and dynamism. Tracks such as ‘Carpe Diem’ with all its changes and explosive playing are tempered by ‘Perspective I’ & ‘Perspective II’, giving the listener a space between the ‘sturm und drang’ of the bigger numbers.

I listened on various platforms, from mp3 over Bluetooth to Flac files through a quality system and the sound is excellent but the better the system, the more the sheer dynamic qualities of the album come out.