Project: Patchwork -
Tales From A Hidden Dream

(CD 2015, 63:04, Progressive Promotion)

The tracks:
  1- Beginning(3:58)
  2- Oblivion(13:24)
  3- The Turning Point(6:55)
  4- Elysium(0:51)
  5- Land Of Hope And Honour(5:14)
  6- Not Yet(5:10)
  7- Every End Is A Beginning (Bau' Dir Ein Schloss)(6:16)
  8- Oblivion Things (Reprise)(3:25)
  9- Incomprehensible (Demo)(17:51)

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Project: Patchwork is basically the childhood dream that came true for initiator Gerd Albers. His eight years of hard labour has resulted in the release of Tales From A Hidden Dream, an album he wrote, sang and played various instruments on. Partner in crime was Peter Kroll, who became the technical director of the album and besides that he also played a number of guitar parts on the album. Over the years Gerd could rely on the help of many prominent and lesser known musicians, most of them heavily based in the progressive rock scene. In total about forty musicians were lending their skills to the project, musicians from highly regarded (German) bands like Seven Steps To The Green Door, Flaming Row, RPWL and even Yossi Sassi; now solo artist, but formerly part of Orphaned Land.

Tales From A Hidden Dream opens with Beginning, an almost four minutes long instrumental piano part. A nice way to set the mood for the album, besides the spherical piano we are treated by a brilliant sax solo by Marek Arnold, someone who definitely leaves his mark on this tune. Oblivion follows; neo prog related and filled with Dave Gilmour reminding guitar solos. The vocal combination of Flaming Row's Lars Begerow and Claudia Kettler works pretty well; Claudia has a smooth pop style voice which nicely contrasts with Lars power. About halfway the song we find a piano part that brings back memories of Freebird, Lynyrd Skynyrd's hymn. The composition itself is pretty basic in my opinion and the normal guitar parts have a slightly dated sound, but the guest musicians, including the cool brutal voice do make up for the composition itself. The Turning Point sees the vocal contribution of Olaf Kobbe, Gerd's band colleague from his cover band Groovefabrik. The song itself is rock/metal with straight forward guitars, a tremendous guitar solo by Flaming Row's Martin Schnella and a real German voice. Elysium is a short acapella choir dedication to the young female student from India, who was gang raped and killed in 2012. Folk elements are added during the quiet and relaxed Land Of Hope And Honour, Jessica Schmalle's vocals are delicately doubled, creating an intimate atmosphere, the Pink Floyd guitar kind of solo finishes this song. With Not Yet, the new part of funk is added. Yossi Sassi's bouzouki and guitar parts do give the song a weird feeling, for Not Yet is an eighties hard rock song with vocals of Chrystal Ball's vocalist Stefan Mageney. Although I like Yossi's contribution, the song itself gives me mixed feelings. The following composition leaves me in a sort of shock. Schlagermusik?; the typical German sung pop and traditional music is what Every End Is A Beginning (Bau' Dir Ein Schloss) brings us. Guess my eighty-six year old father would like this, I just don't. Oblivion Things (Reprise) takes you back to the second song of the album, orchestrated and instrumental this time. The final song on the album; Incomprehensible is the one that started it all in 2009. A sort of neo progressive song with very German sounding vocals and pretty poor vocal lines. Even RPWL's Kalle Wallner's guitar contribution cannot lift this demo up from mediocrity.

Project: Patchwork can be seen as Gerd Albers' hobby project. A project that is of interest because of the impressive guests that reached out to make Gerd's dream come alive. Too bad the compositions are mediocre and not interesting enough to last. Also there is less coherency between the songs; a lot of styles are presented and various types of voices pass by. Personally I think Gerd will be very happy, he finally has realized his dream and all his friends will have his album in their collection.

*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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