Proem: You Shall Have Ever Been

Proem (Richard Bailey) caps his Merck tenure with a two-disc package, the first a studio-based collection of 14 precision-tooled cuts and the bonus second a live set recorded at 2005's Decibel Festival at the label's final showcase. The product of two years' work, You Shall Have Ever Been doesn't depart radically from the ultra-sleek IDM style Bailey's honed on his previous quartet of full-lengths but that's certainly no criticism. Proem drapes silken washes, hazy synths, and vocodered voices over percolating techno pulses and billowing starburst clusters in his evocative and oft-placid soundscapes. “Field of Flies” verges on orchestral IDM, the song's first half an expansive atmospheric setting of crunchy beats and vibrant synth patterns that ultimately morphs into a peaceful flute and strings coda, while “Postage on a Slow Envelope” lulls the listener to sleep with vanishing wisps of hypnotic synth ambiance. Something as beautiful as “We'll Be Mostly Golden,” a paradisiacal dreamscape of angelic voices and languid rhythms, is worth the price of admission alone. Atmospherically immersive and teeming with textural detail, these beautifully crafted tracks reveal Bailey's vision—musically at least—to be clearly more utopian than dystopic.

October 2006