Unmastered CD-R Promo with the additional track "Hail Pleasure" not available on the final release and a longer version of the track "In Our Lifetime"
2009 album from the critically acclaimed Psychedelic Rock band. Institute Of Joy features a new expansive and heady sound full of hypnotizing and soul healing emotions. .A Mountain Of One have been described as a cross between a drugged out Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd's Meddle, the full '70s Santana, Arthur Russell, Laurel Canyon, Air's Moon Safari, JJ Cale, Talk Talk, Madchester, the first Beta Band EP and The Verve's A Northern Soul. Institute Of Joy looks set to be one of the albums of the year and a bona fide modern day classic. Its vast scope, its unapologetic vaulting ambition and the rich grandeur is undeniable. Taking in hypnotic Rock, pastoral Folk, Krautrock, Gospel and life-affirming Soul, this is a record aiming straight for the heart.
Under the mysterious pseudonym A Mountain of One, London-based multi-instrumentalists Zeben Jameson and Mo Morris have produced an epic, mind-spinning record with their LP, ‘Institute of Joy’. This pop-infused psychedelic-folk-rock album is the second for the talented pair, following the release of Collected Works in 2007. Institute of Joy is comprised of fourteen tracks, which, apologies for the clichéd metaphor use, have the power to take listeners ‘on a journey through their imaginations’. All cynicism aside, there is no alternative way to describe the progressive nature of the songs on this ambitious album other than surreal with a dream-like quality.
Combining contemporary keyboards and synthesisers with the classical, rustic sounds of percussion and guitars, A Mountain of One change pace relentlessly throughout Institute of Joy. The opening track, appropriately dubbed ‘Intro’, is a short and slow instrumental, sufficiently setting up the ambience for the remainder of the song-selection. The sheer talent of the pair is flaunted throughout the record’s entirety, as track-after-track features both impressive piano riffs, such as is heard in ‘Lie Awake’, and acoustic guitar melodies ala ‘Sky is folding’. Haunting and engaging, the voice of Jameson completes the cosmic effect of the unique, yet clearly influence-ridden, sound of A Mountain of One.
The first single from the album, ‘Bones’ is a catchy, guitar dominated tune. It will impress those who enjoy electric guitar intermissions within a song, however it is certainly not a highlight of this album.
Escapism at its best, each track of ‘Institute of Joy’ brings something slightly different, yet they still flow together flawlessly. Scattered throughout the record are spurts of many musical genres, with the track ‘Green’ having a rootsy-folk feel to it, while the epic ‘White Spider’ resonates like an ominous hymn. The latter is arguably the strongest track of the LP, though not necessarily the most appealing with a constant background chant and dark voiceovers. As the second last song, it evokes a feeling of foreboding, acting almost as a climactic lead up to the falling action of ‘Knife of the Sultan’, which leaves listeners feeling quite at ease.
'Institute of Joy’ is not an album that will blow your mind away on the very first play. Yes, it will certainly impress you, make you listen and will most likely intrigue you to some extent, but it is on the second, third, fourth listening that the full effect of A Mountain of One’s innovative music-making will hit. Listening to each song individually will not do justice to the work of the two men by which the songs were produced. On the contrary, it is necessary to listen to ‘Institute of Joy’ as a whole work of art. Each song propels towards the next, with every track marking part of the musical sequence designed to take one away from the stresses of everyday life. Morris himself acknowledged the wankiness of his own statement that Institute of Joy is ‘about empowering you by listening to the music’. Wanky it may be, the record does just that should one maintain an open mind that is willing to be fortified.