PROEM: Enough Conflict (n5MD)


Posted on Aug 23rd 2010 01:08 am

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Proem: Enough Conflict

Enough Conflict
n5MD 2010
14 Tracks. 50mins23secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: DLD iTunes: DLD

In the ten years or so since he first appeared on the music scene, Proem’s Richard Bailey has contributed releases to quite a few labels, from Hydrant and Monotonik to En:peg Digital and Nonresponse, but he has always returned to California-based n5MD, publishing four albums through them, one of which still only available as a MiniDisc, harking back to the original nature of the label.

One of the main qualities of Bailey’s work is the way he maintains a fine balance between melody and abstraction, yet, his last album, Till There’s No Breath, released last year on Nonresponse, investigated much dark terrains than usual. With its slow-moving pieces, dense soundscapes and vast reverbs, the album wouldn’t have sounded too out of place on Miasmah. With Enough Conflict, Bailey returns to more familiar grounds, weaving varied and contrasted soundscapes into sumptuous melodies to create a soundtrack which ranges from moody glitch-ridden electronica (Deep Sleeping Birds, Jiittirrrriii, Sudden Sharp Turns) and intricate constructions (Guns.Knives.Lemons, She Never Cries, Enough Conflict) to sumptuous atmospheric pieces (Kalimba Jam, @ The Firey Abyss, A Short Bit Before You Go).

While technology is undoubtedly at the core of his work, Bailey tempers that with occasional stabs at the piano, especially on the cinematic Fall Forward, on which he combines acoustic and electronic sounds into a very effective emotionally-charged piece. The piano surfaces elsewhere in the album, but it is very much Bailey’s rather exquisite sound design and strong vision of sound placement that dominate here. This is felt throughout, but it appears most significantly on tracks such as album opener Deep Sleeping Birds, She Never Cries, Sudden Sharp Turns or the title track for instance, which see the man juggling extremely delicate textures, often placed as part of the backdrop, yet still very much part of the fabric of these pieces, and more prominent sound forms, resulting in very coherent compositions.

There is no clear progression or narrative through the record, although the tone changes toward the end from complex electronic structures to much more ethereal and ambient forms, hinting at the sombre overtones of Bailey’s previous album. Instead, the mood changes continuously as Bailey alternates between moody compositions, cinematic pieces and atmospheric tracks. While this occasionally interferes with any natural flow, it surprises the listener by going against expectations and actually contributes to the album feeling fresh and vibrant.


Proem | n5MD
Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: DLD iTunes: DLD

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