18 Sep 2021
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Zed Brookes - Album Review: O Sweet Cacophony

27 Nov 2016 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Zed Brookes is a mainstay of the often overlooked Waikato music scene, with a history in music longer than my seemingly endless life.

This becomes less profound when you realise that the tween and teen music consumer demographic of today weren't yet born for first outing of System of a Down, never saw the Britney Spears versus Christina Aguilera versus underdog Billie Piper popularity contest, or even In Da Club by 50 cent.

A dab hand at the music desk, Brookes has spent a lot of time behind the scenes, occasionally finding the time to emerge with a solo or group project.

His latest, 2016's aptly titled O Sweet Cacophony is an exploration in international quality Electronic Pop with Rock sensibilities beneath Brookes' whispered husky vocals and sweet backing singers. An amalgam of ideas and influences, this album is experimental and unique.

I came in expecting a rehash of the Dunedin, Flying Nun sound of old, but can happily report it's kind of like Puscifer, a bit like David Bowie, wholly enjoyable.        

Originally a project for his Master of Arts, Brookes describes O Sweet Cacophony as "a set of experiments in limiting choice to enhance creativity when writing and producing."

Weezer fans, true Weezer fans - not just people who liked Beverly Hills - will know of Rivers Cuomo's overzealous use of spreadsheets. Although I can't find the reference now, I recall there was one that collated certain song's inspirations, level of intoxication at time of writing, and the constraints under which they were written.

It's a seemingly useless piece of trivia I stumbled across during a late night Wikipedia, but something in common with this effort from Brookes. It brings the collection of ideas-made-music that is O Sweet Cacophony back into the realm of art, and that's something I can abide, being long since disillusioned by the concept of a music industry that values the hype of a product over the quality and artistic merit.

Yet, for an art project of sorts, Brookes has a very marketable sound. Spending years in a music store, and behind the scenes within the industry, you'll surely recognise what works and what separates an ephemeral one hit wonder from good music.

By this reasoning there should be a bunch of former Marbecks or JB HIFI employees dominating the music charts, but there's a difference between knowing and applying the knowledge. It takes an artist with the skills to bring all of those ideas together.

An enjoyably relaxing, easy listen for those who can find it, I recommend this to people that enjoy good music that's familiar and warm, yet comfortably detached from the mainstream.

You can find O Sweet Cacophony on the Zed Brookes Bandcamp and Spotify.

 

About Zed Brookes

Zed Brookes was made for music and has made an awful lot of it, mostly for other people. The brains behind Tandys Recording Studio, The Zoo Studio and later WINTECS recording facility at the Dept. Of Media Arts, he helped revolutionise the Waikato scene providing scores of bands and musicians the opportunity to lay down world-class tracks with cutting edge equipment. His diverse credits include Midge Marsden, Knightshade, The Datsuns, Katchafire, The Narcs and way too many more to mention.

In between time he has found a little time for his own music. In 1985 his Hamilton based synth pop band Step Chant Unit’s song Painting Pictures went top 30 on the local charts (the first Hamilton band to achieve this feat) and this paved the way for an appearance on the legendary music show Radio With Pictures. Since there have been numerous other bands and collaborative projects including an album with Te Awamutu based MOoFish whose 1999 album MOofishin spent several weeks on the US College Charts.

Finding the time for his own music has always been a struggle and with Oh Sweet Cacophony’ he has realised is his first true solo project. With the exception of Jan Hellriegel who shares lead vocal of the amazing Not The Girl You Were and Katrina Theo who features on the delicious pop anthem Golden this album is all Brookes. As producer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist/songwriter and vocalist it shows him as so many of those who have worked with him already know, that he is the consummate musical craftsman.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Zed Brookes

Releases

O Sweet Cacophony
Year: 2016
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Peter-James Dries

Comf - Single Review: Do You Feat. Ilena
12 Sep 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
Water, Clay, and Ceramic. If the sonic possibilities of these three textures are the question, then Comf’s triptych of EPs, The Texture Tapes, are the proposed hypothesis.
Read More...
Hazza Making Noise - EP Review: Vengeful Millennial
05 Sep 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
You’re sitting in an average suburban home. A family is sitting at the dinner table in front of you.
Read More...
Scalper - Single Review: Silence Speaks
24 Jul 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
Hard to believe it’s been seven years since I heard my first Scalper track My Blood Your Blood. Harder to believe it was only last year I reviewed Scalper’s The Beast & The Beauty.
Read More...
Personal Igloo - Single Review: Material Girl
01 Jul 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
No. This is not a Madonna cover.
Read More...
Hazza Making Noise - Single Review: NoMoreGaps
16 Mar 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Kurt Cobain survived. Would he have kept making music and what would it sound like?
Read More...
You, Me, Everybody - Album Review: Southern Sky
16 Feb 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
Deep within the matryoshka doll that is the country genre is a bluegrass doll in cosplay. Sitting on the fire escape of a rundown apartment building, dry buck wheat stem between its teeth, and a rock band shirt, progressive bluegrass is the genre that ran away from its home in the Appalachians and fell in with a different crowd.
Read More...
Kev Rowland - Book Review: The Progressive Underground vol 1 - 3
27 Jan 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
It is an odd circumstance, to be in the position of reviewing reviews. Reviews are one person’s personal, subjective opinion.
Read More...
Scalper - Album Review: The Beast and The Beauty
20 Nov 2020 // by Peter-James Dries
I have reviewed more releases than I have patience to count. Many of the musicians I’ve heard have disappeared from my consciousness and the scene soon after, but there are a few that make such an impression that they stick with me.
Read More...
View All Articles By Peter-James Dries

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
  • GIRLS WANT GIRLS
    Drake feat. Lil Baby
  • FAIR TRADE
    Drake feat. Travis Scott
  • CHAMPAGNE POETRY
    Drake
  • INDUSTRY BABY
    Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
  • BAD HABITS
    Ed Sheeran
  • WAY 2 SEXY
    Drake, Future And Young Thug
  • HURRICANE
    Kanye West
  • COLD HEART (PNAU REMIX)
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
  • HEAT WAVES
    Glass Animals
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem