Zed Brookes has been a substantial figure in the NZ music industry for several decades. A core member of bands such as Step Chant Unit and Schrödinger’s Cat, audio engineer at Tandy’s Recording Studio and The Zoo in Hamilton, and these days a senior lecturer and HoD at MAINZ in Auckland. His interdisciplinary approach to composition and production, drawing from extremely diverse influences has led to this solo project, ‘O Sweet Cacophony’. A large part of this album came out of Zed’s MA project about limiting choices to enhance creativity as a solo artist in the recording studio setting. While primarily a vocal driven, synth-rock endeavour, the album fluently incorporates elements from various disparate styles of music. An excellent example can be heard in Golden (feat. Katerina Theo) integrating elements from uplifting acoustic-pop, synth-pop and rock. After the energising opener Fly When You’re Falling, the album turns an unexpected corner into Not The Girl You Were (feat. Jan Hellriegel), and while staying accessible in terms of pop music sensibilities, also borrows heavily from glitch, psy-dub and downtempo genres. Synth-rock instrumental Deus Ex Machina drives hard, as does Last Call, but in an entirely different, upbeat dub manner. Album closer Fever Dreams helps bring the listener back down to earth in a captivating and texturally explorative way, a clever and effective final word in the overarching form of this smart album.