Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Sample-based music can often relish untidy splicing and ragged loops – look at the joins! – as though emphasising its synthetic creation. Roman Bezdyk (aka Sone Institute) on “A Model Life” delivers a seamless, richly organic sound-world where it’s difficult to spot the joins but also to see what is appropriation and what is invention, what is studio reproduction and what is real, live instrumentation. These fourteen songs also come across like a genre-hopping, carefully sequenced mixtape –dense, vocal-laden songs gliding into looser instrumentals and retro-lounge playfulness over the course of a 54 minute excursion from J Dilla beats (‘The World Is A Confusion’) to Ryuichi Sakamoto revery (‘Little Walsingham’) to Sergio Leone re-wiring Alan Hawkshaw (‘M’Ling’) and back again. There are occasional glitchy hiccups in the smooth flow just to catch you out but mainly an astonishing, shape-shifting variety.

The album lurches into life with hairy rock guitar work-out in ‘Witchcraft and Pornography’ and ends cryptically with slippery psychedelic guitar and distorted vocal samples in the sleep-deprived ‘Fear and Nappiness’. In between there’s 60s spy intrigue as soundtracked by Blue Note in ‘Frozen Leaves – Falling From Trees’, the silky strings library music of ‘Back At Yesterday’, the torch soul meets scrap-yard folk stirrings of ‘Struck By A Rock’, the poignant whistling of Sparklehorse instrumental out-take ‘A Model Life’ or the gauzy ambience of Boards Of Canada in ‘Cars And Rain’. And more.

Being released on Front And Follow, home of undefinable esoterica, and with plaudits from The Wire (who also stream a companion track to this album release on their website) could lead you to label Sone Institute’s second album as 'experimental', as iTunes Gracenote service does. But this does not mean obtuse or difficult. Far from it. Like the cover artwork – from a photographic series ‘The Car Park’ by Nick Cobb – your perspective changes frequently, it is difficult to divine what is real and what is a model in this hazy trompe l’oeil but "A Model Life" is a refreshing, revitalising listen that constantly draws you in, revealing more detail and surprise in its elegant, serpentine unwinding.

Sone Institute
A Model Life [BUY]

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