Proem – Modern Rope (self)

Checking in with some of my past favourites I discover the latest release by Richard Bailey, a Philadelphia based electronic musician, whom I’ve been following since the early days of IDM under his Proem moniker on labels such as n5MD, Merck, and Hymen. He last appeared on these pages with Till There’s No Breath (Nonresponse, 2009) and Enough Conflict (n5MD, 2010). I missed his self-released Before It Finds You (2013), but I’m happy to have landed on this Modern Rope. Revisiting this sound is like picking up an old book left mid-story, or like binge-watching the next season of that series that you loved, or like catching up with a good old friend you haven’t seen in nearly a decade only to find out that you both have not much changed. Ah… this is what I loved about Proem, I remember, this is that feeling that’s created only out of Richard Bailey’s mind…

The twelve pieces of the album are somewhere between dark ambient, cinematic horror, and slightly disturbing electronica which gradually drag you through its corridors down into a dimly lit and hollow space, from which you must attempt and find way out. It is a maze that will appeal to the cerebral and to the sentient, with all of its concealed and esoteric sounds. At times, borderline eerie, the long extended fingers of its aura will slowly creep upon your shoulders, and as you brush away its chilly breath and goosebumps, you find that all of it is only in your mind. The atmosphere of these painted rooms is wide and airy, even if the movement inside is stale and partially suffocating, as you search for an opening to take a breath. But when you finally find yourself released from under its spell you feel that you want to return again inside and to be lost in that forgotten something…

Fans of film scores and unsettling sounds, by the likes of Raime, Demdike Stare, and the darker side of Roly Porter will find themselves enchanted with these tracks. Junkies of classic electronica circa 2000 will also tickle their neurons on the passages explored through pieces such as “I Can Feel the Bugs”. Quality production is only complimented by the mastering touch of Georgi Marinov (aka Esem), with whom Bailey appears to have kept in touch since the good ol’ Merck days. Modern Rope seems to have been released quietly, without label’s backing and no splash of news, but it didn’t just slip past me… not this time…

proemland.com | proem.bandcamp.com

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Words by HC