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Patch - The Star Suite CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

2.43 | 13 ratings

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2 stars ‘Patch’ was a studio project engineered by ex-New Zealander Peter Dawkins in an Australian studio in the mid-seventies. The artists who made up the project consisted primarily of either musicians Dawkins had worked with before such as Mike Rudd (Spectrum and Ariel) and Rod Coe (the Saints); or regionally-known musicians like Mike Perjanik of the Mike Perjanik Band and soundtrack composer Nathan Waks. Few if any of these guys were known outside the Australia/New Zealand part of the world and there is no indication this was supposed to be a persistent arrangement, so I don’t think this qualifies as a super group or anything.

The premise of the album was to record four tracks, each representing one of the four basic elements of the Zodiac (Air, Fire, Water and Earth). Not a particularly brilliant concept in my opinion, although off the top of my head I can’t think of anyone else who’d done something similar up to that point.

In any case, this is an all-instrumental album, with each track running around the ten minute range. There are hints of Alan Parsons here: the synthesizer and brass on “Earth” especially have a very ‘I Robot’ vibe to them, and parts of the percussion on “Water” is eerily close to the rhythms on the darker parts of “Turn of a Friendly Card”. But all of Parson’s Project albums post-date this one, so that gives you something to think about I suppose. There are a few keyboard riffs that touch on Yes ala ‘Close to the Edge’ as well, but if anything this is mere coincidence. The overall tone of the arrangements is quite sterile, and nothing approaching the pompousness and grandeur of the early seventies Yes albums.

My first impression after hearing this thing is that it was rather uninspired. The musicianship is professional, but there are no distinctive moments like a strong solo or a breathtaking crescendo or even a memorable transition. Just well-scored and tersely executed compositions. And despite the large number of musicians listed in the credits, a surprising large percentage of the music is synthesized, including some drum tracks and fake strings (although there is a cello, albeit an electric one).

The mini-disc Japanese release is the only reissue I’m aware of, and considering the obscurity and banality of the music I would be surprised if the thing ever gets a proper re-release. I really hate to go with two stars for something that seemed to involve a fair amount of effort but I can’t bring myself to like much of anything about this record, so an apologetic two stars it is. Not particularly recommended, especially since as of today you’d have to buy a mini-disc version with some authenticity questions to be able to hear it.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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