Proem: Songs 4 the city bus
Coredump Records

Merck mainstay Proem (Richard Bailey) brings his customary elegance to Songs 4 the city bus, a nine-track, thirty-nine minute mini-album (including remixes by Esem and Nautilis) of billowing atmospheres, glistening melodies, and staccato, stutter-funk beats. Bailey typically juxtaposes percolating stabs of percussive squelch with stately, at times labyrinthine themes, “Slevoh” a prime stylistic example with its merging of elastic lashes and softly weaving melodies. Proem marries beat pounds with firefly electronics in “Cynical Landlord” before Esem (George Marinov) gives the song a delicate church overhaul in his “Ycialn Clandrol” remix; alternately sparkling, sashaying, and writhing, Skyler McGlothlin's Nautilis remix of “Route1” is memorable too (even if it retains little of the original), with a newly-added voice sample the most haunting element. The hidden track, “Afternoon Nap,” comprises two sections, the first a streaming unfurl of spectral majesty whose ambient style matches its title, and the second an animated coda of jittery pinpricks and glimmering keys. Expertly crafted and bereft of padding, Songs 4 the city bus won't disappoint Proem (and Merck) fans.

September 2005