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Sone Institute - A Model Life

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 12 / 10 / 2012

Sone Institute - A Model Life
Label: Front and Follow
Format: CD


Inventive and unique second album from one-man electronic project, the Sone Institute

'A Model Life' is the second album from Sone Institute, also known as Roman Bezdyk. Building on the success of 2010’s 'Curious Memories', Bezdyk has created an album of contrasts, highlighting his skill in sonic manipulation and “sampleadelic sorcery.” The album opens with 'Witchcraft and Pornography'. Sounding like a cross between Todd Rundgren and Frank Zappa, the track’s heavily treated, emphatic guitar snarls out an anti-melody over a background of looping electronic effects. A challenging piece, the track may not be instantly hummable but it gets under the skin and into the brain of the listener. The pulsing insistence of the track is infectious and weirdly catchy in a thoroughly unconventional way. Second track 'M’Ling' seems, at first, a little more straight than its predecessor – that is until the one attempts to figure out the piece’s time signature. The counter-intuitive percussion sits high in the mix, overlaying a 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest'-era Jack Nitzsche string arrangement. The counterpoint of the soothing strings and the almost unsettling percussion works well, building tension by pulling the listener’s attention in opposite directions before finally releasing the pressure at just the right moment. Third track 'The World is a Confusion' is more traditional electronica, reminiscent of 'Come With Us'-era Chemical Brothers. The respite of familiarity is, however, short lived, with fourth track 'Frozen Leaves' – Falling from the Trees straddling dance and folktronica. That the album flows as well as it does is tribute to the quality of the material. Skipping effortlessly from the challenging to the comforting, the album excites and satisfies on every level. For me, the standout track is 'Back at Yesterday'. Sounding like Bonobo meets mellow Mylo trippiness, its gently looping, almost Burt Bacharach string section, is a fabulously soothing salve after the challenging opening four tracks. Indeed 'Back at Yesterday' signals a change in direction for the album, which moves into a dreamy reverie for its middle section before returning to almost Flaming Lips levels of sonic adventures for 'A Model Life'. This excursion, however, is brief, and the closing tracks, from 'Scuppered Flow' through to 'Tradition and Dream', return to the lushness of dream-pop. That is, until final track 'Fear and Happiness' takes us back to the familiar territory of the album’s opener. It’s a neat bookend, and a satisfying end to the album. I was hugely excited by 'A Model Life'. The skill and creativity with which it is put together is thoroughly impressive, giving the listener the feeling of having been on a journey with a coherent beginning, middle section and ending. This is a truly magical and inventive album, as full of imagination as it is charm. Everything about it, from Nick Cobb’s superb artwork to the material itself, is staggeringly original and superbly executed. All in all, a great second album from a supremely talented artist.

Track Listing:-
1 Witchcraft and Pornography
2 M'Ling
3 The World Is a Confusion
4 Frozen Leaves - Falling from Trees
5 Back At Yesterday
6 Little Walsingham
7 Struck By a Rock
8 A Model Life
9 Amoral Life
10 Scuppered Flow
11 Cars and Rain
12 Brittlestar
13 Tradition and Dream
14 Fear and Happiness

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