Thursday, October 14, 2010

Enough Conflict - Proem

Enough Conflict

n5MD Records.

SCQ Rating: 69%

Industrial noise must be a tough drug for electronic artists to dabble in. More often than not, it seems interspersing industrial elements into one’s laptop palette results in an overdose of dark synths that brood over and serrate any notion of a melody that might’ve been. ‘deep sleeping birds’ may be little more than an appetizer to proceedings but its jagged metallic shards repeatedly convinced me to skip those following twelve tracks and play something brighter instead. Little did I know that Enough Conflict’s opener is a red herring, a chrome-heavy chunk of IDM that stands alone in recalling all of those industrial-dependent artists who can’t muster any light to contrast their gloom.

Things take a positive turn from that point on, as Richard Bailey displays electronic songwriting unmasked of its ominous smoke and mirrors. Leave it to a song called ‘guns.knives.lemons’ to first let rays of sunlight upon Bailey’s tough-as-nails beats, but with the help of some acid squiggles and buzz-saw ambience, assenting vibes follow course. Enough Conflict doesn’t ditch its early industrial leanings but balances them more evenly with airy cinematics (‘jiittirrrrriii’) and crystal-clear melodies (‘seafaring velvet waltz’). For electronica fans who find all the doomladen material a bit cumbersome for everyday listening, Proem’s latest acts as an ideal gateway record; still fraught with challenging passages but melded to enticing refrains that, whether dreamy or nightmarish, should give industrial-fearing kids like myself an appreciation for punchier IDM. At times evoking Aphex Twin, Bailey creates concrete song-constructions from the otherworldly ‘she never cries’ and the Drukqs-era ‘a short bit before you go’.

A mixed bag of harsh beat patterns (‘back to fail’) and tender soundscapes (‘kalimba jam’), Enough Conflict, like its title, feels oddly at peace with its scattered ideas. Satisfied letting its unsettled nature drift almost organically song to song, Proem’s eighth LP often feels lacking in narrative, as if each stage of its journey finds disconnected chaos, serenity, or one within the other. Although concise in running-time, the record stretches generously without any major, game-changing highlights – something ultimately more liberating than detracting. It may not be for everyone… but anyone with an ear for IDM would be remiss to pass on a listen of Enough Conflict.

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