Head here to submit your own review of this album.

Sam Prekop is better known as the leader of the jazz influenced Chicago based post-rock group The Sea and Cake, but his other interest is in the world of modular/ analogue synths. The Republic is his fourth solo album, following on from 2010's experimental Old Punch Card. The pieces here are firmly within the realm of sound art, and they have little in common with Prekop's more familiar work. This is certainly not an album of cast-off songs by the main singer-songwriter in a rock band.

The first half of The Republic is a collection of pieces – all called 'the Republic' – originally created as a score for a video installation of the same name by David Hartt, which was shown at the David Nolan Gallery in New York last Spring Although the music is presented here alone and out of context, it is useful to know that the film which it accompanied features a recurring scene of four men, slowly and methodically, tipping a wrecked car unto its back.

The first track begins with an ominous crackle and drone which never really leaves throughout the nine parts, and whilst some of the pieces pulse along with an urgency, others gently meander around a minimal melody. They are short pieces, some only a minute in length, which in a couple of cases is a shame as they just seemed to be getting going. Some are mood pieces and others sound like frantic morse code. Like most interesting ambient music it sounds better at a loud volume so it becomes overwhelming. You can imagine that it worked well as that installation's soundtrack.

The second half of the album consists of material that is more accesible. The pieces here are longer, and although they were created around the same time as the exhibition soundtrack, it was decided that they worked better on their own. They are lot more accessible than any of the tracks on Prekop's earlier synth album (Old Punch Card) and if you listen really closely you might be able to discern subtle similiarities with the synth parts on the Sea and Cake's last album The Runner.

This is particularly true of tunes like 'Weather Vane' and 'A Geometric', which are less reliant than atmospherics and more in tune with conventional melodic structures and arrangements. This works best of all on 'Invisible' where a cyclical chord progression gives way to a more strident melody which is finally submerged under waves of low frequencies.

Other tracks are keen to try new things. 'The Loom' touches on pulsing, systems-like music and 'Ghost' has a fluttering mutating melody over an elongated drone.

Although it may sound like a record with two contrasting sides The Republic does actually make sense as an album. For those fans of the Sea and Cake who are intrigued to hear their main songwriter develop some different ideas, this album is worth investigating. On the other hand, if you've never heard of Sam Prekop before, yet you are keen to hear some edgy and creative music made with modular synths, then this is definitely worth a listen.

This is the place you'll find reviews from 405 Readers. To join in, head here.