SONE INSTITUTE: Curious Memories (Front & Follow)


Posted on Feb 19th 2010 01:02 am

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Sone Institute: Curious Memories

Curious Memories
Front & Follow 2010
14 Tracks. 43mins11secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: DLD

Follow up to a self-released EP published a year and a half ago, Curious Memories is the debut album by St Albans, North London, based Roman Bezdyk and is published on Manchester imprint Front & Follow on a run of just 250 copies.

Working from an extremely wide array of samples and found sounds, electronics and various acoustic instruments, which are woven deep into the fabric of each of the fourteen pieces presented here, Bezdyk constantly deflects expectations by throwing unexpected oddities in the path of his compositions, dismantling soundscapes and beats as quickly as he had pulled them out of nowhere only moments before, to create a particularly hectic and vibrant soundtrack.

Despite its dreamy nature, Curious Memories is firmly rooted in the modern world, as Bezdyk draws influences from hip-hop, techno, psyche folk, funk, soul and pop, but these are so blended together that they become almost unidentifiable for sure. A similar treatment is applied to melodies, which are at time buried under thick layers of sounds and beats, or at others pushed to the fore to the point of temporarily obstructing the rest of a piece. This is, in a way, a very urban record, the musical equivalent of a gigantic traffic jam on Piccadilly Circus on a Friday evening.

Things start fairly well with the funfair bonanza of Inter Asylum Cross Country but after just over a minute and a half, Bezdyk changes direction to inflict the beat-laden The Wind Began To Switch, with its heavy doses of soulful strings, horn riffs and other tangents, but no content with following radically different threads so early on, Bezdyk then gets sidetracked a few times within the piece itself, at one point dropping for a moment in what sounds like an episode of CHiPs, or later on, stopping by to enjoy a bucolic choral flourish. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the record, with tracks such as Dark Forest – Silver Sea, Burnt Land, On Tree Hill or Sweetness Coyed all showing extreme signs of hyperactivity.

Bezdyk occasionally manages to reign in his wild imagination the time of a track or two. The gentle Plane Sailing Song for instance builds from the peaceful motifs of an acoustic guitar into a hazy piano-led section, while Lazy London Ways conjures images of summer picnics in parks and Steps To The Sun or French Woods have a retro-futurist undertone which resonates with echoes of library music. These moments are few and far between though, and even there Bezdyk finds it hard to resist injecting some bubbling samples in the background.

The danger with such record is that, by piling up sounds, beats and whatever else is at hand, one risks obliterating the subtleties of the music. This is unfortunately the case here. Bezdyk rarely pauses for air, and it often feels as if he’s trying to demonstrate how much he can cram into his tracks. This is all very well but Curious Memories seriously lacks direction and focus and ends up sounding like a chaotic mess which doesn’t ultimately makes much of a mark. This is a shame as Bezdyk shows some moments of near genius along the way which, with much greater quality control, could very well prove to be a winning formula in the future.


Sone Institute (MySpace) | Front & Follow
Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: DLD

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