Proem
Socially Inept


4.5
superb

Review

by ComeToDaddy USER (48 Reviews)
March 20th, 2014 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shapeless, formless, open to interpretation.

Socially Inept, Richard Bailey's (aka Proem's) opus, succeeds in creating the album of duality sought since his 2001 release Negativ. With each album slowly reducing the emphasis on a glitch-laden, oppressive IDM core and infusing his music with warm, synth-laden melodies, he manages to succeed in much the same way as Autechre (with Amber) and Boards of Canada (with Geodaddi) did before him. It is very easy for two people to listen to this same album and have very different experiences. Where one can easily focus on the gorgeous harmonies and weaving rhythms, another may see a cold, desolate landscape, and the balance between these two is the album's greatest asset.

Socially Inept begins with the sublime 'I Don't Know How To Tell', immediately showing Bailey's evolution since his most recent outing. This track is textured beautifully, all-pervading synths with a static-ridden beat and a breathy vocal sample at the centre-point to break up the track. Whilst being formulaic in delivery, it feels human. There is something indescribable in the way the song comes together that makes it far more immediate than any of his back catalog. It is Bailey opening up to his audience and creating the most personable piece he can while holding on to his roots, unwilling to let go and give himself creative freedom. As the album continues however, Socially Inept moves further and further away from this heartfelt opening and into a darker, more dismal sound.

Often forgoing uplifting melodies in exchange for passionless mechanical rhythm, the album sweeps between organic and robotic, providing humanity as a respite and then depriving the listener of this warmth. As far as IDM goes, this album is exceptionally melodic and serene as a whole, but the significant contrast between the two different styles makes each far more significant. 'Deep Like Airline Failure' calmly weaves around simple acoustic guitar lines, drenched in reverb and flowing free of structure before a minimal glitch beat gives the song direction. Whilst a stunning track in it's own right, it is far more refreshing and affecting when juxtaposed with the rumbling bass, glitches and distorted vocals of 'Carpark Kittens' before it. Though there are undoubtedly highlights, this is an album that must be experienced as a whole to truly appreciate. Each peak doesn't have the same impact if you can't see the empty valleys on either side.

Bailey has truly outdone himself with Socially Inept. The mastery of contrast and diversity ensure that the album never becomes wearisome and never drags throughout it's extensive 60min runtime, which is quite a feat in itself. Whilst sometimes a difficult album to listen through due to it's constantly shifting landscape, neither the ominous nor the serene ever overstay their welcome. Proem would never again be able to capture his sound so effectively and make such a poignant statement in the IDM scene. This album stands as the height of his career and a real gem in the genre as a whole.



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ComeToDaddy
March 20th 2014


1784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tried my hand at reviewing an altogether different album than my past reviews, attempting to broaden my reviewing palette. As always, constructive criticism is welcomed and appreciated

Wadlez
March 20th 2014


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh wow, I really enjoy this album. Thanks for the review!

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2014


2905 Comments


Not got the time for proper feedback but I should do later, nice review!

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
March 20th 2014


19985 Comments


good review, album is great. idk if its a 4.5 but ratings are mostly irrelevant anyways.

the only thing i would have to say is that this album is defiantly more influenced by LP5-era Autechre than it is Amber. most of these tracks sound like a variation on Corc or Under BOAC.

MisterTornado
March 20th 2014


4507 Comments


This sounds fascinating. Also "Proem" ... Steve Brule?

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
March 20th 2014


19985 Comments


you should dig it, most of this sounds like move of ten actually (Little_A is basically M62 with an arp)

when frailty falls is one of my fav songs actually

Wadlez
March 20th 2014


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Place Gun to Head is stunning

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
March 20th 2014


19985 Comments


yeah i jammed this on the way to school and it was a bright sunny day and it was really sweet.

so props for reviewing this and making me remember to listen to it.

MisterTornado
March 20th 2014


4507 Comments


(Little_A is basically M62 with an arp)

*downloads immediately*

Yotimi
March 20th 2014


7469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Proem...steve brule" lol nice

ComeToDaddy
March 20th 2014


1784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Musically lp5 is definitely more similar, I name dropped Amber more because it served the purpose of my review with focus on contrast, but lp5 was probably the better choice. Thanks for the feedback!



Can definitely see you digging this Tornado, is a long listen but an easy one if you listen to Autechre

Aids
March 21st 2014


24455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2014


2905 Comments


Okay so yesterday evening was a write-off, but I can do feedback now. I dig the review so there isn't much to say: just small flow things.

This track is textured beautifully, all-pervading synths with a static-ridden beat and a breathy vocal sample at the centre-point to break up the track.


This almost works, but the jump in context over the first comma demands a few words to bridge it, otherwise you're left having to read the whole second clause in order to understand what's going on and even then it's vaguely confusing. I lack the vocabulary to properly explain it so hopefully you see...

Socially Inept, Richard Bailey's (aka Proem's) opus, succeeds in creating the album of duality sought since his 2001 release Negativ. With each album slowly reducing the emphasis on a glitch-laden, oppressive IDM core and infusing his music with warm, synth-laden melodies, he manages to succeed in much the same way as Autechre (with Amber) and Boards of Canada (with Geodaddi) did before him. It is very easy for two people to listen to this same album and have very different experiences. Where one can easily focus on the gorgeous harmonies and weaving rhythms, another may see a cold, desolate landscape, and the balance between these two is the album's greatest asset.


I'm guilty of this too, but way too many brackets! :P

The sentence I've highlighted really wants to be in either the sentence before or after it. It's pretty much the pivotal bit of information for the direction of your review, but it floats aimlessly as more of a barrier than a bridge. It all feels quite broken up to me (feel free to disagree!).

General clutter reduction is always good, too. This is my crack at a bit of it:

With each album slowly reducing the emphasis of an oppressive glitch core and infusing the crust with warmer, synth-laden melodies, he managed to succeed in much the same way Autechre and Boards of Canada had before him: it is very easy for two people to have very different experiences.


Little grammatical tweaks, continuation of imagery, the redundancy of IDM when you mention glitch etc. Just to give you an idea of how someone could otherwise go about it (:


ComeToDaddy
March 21st 2014


1784 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you so so much for the criticisms, they all make a lot of sense and vocalize a few of the things that didn't feel quite right when I read through my review, I appreciate it a heap! I'll work on these things before my next one (:



Do you think a semi-colon in place of the comma in the first criticism would have helped? Or a few words definitely needed to bridge? I'm not really sure whether continuation is best, or a short-list format, or just skipping the matter altogether, it always feels bloated when i rewrite that section :/ probably just inexperience, but any help would be super

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2014


2905 Comments


Hmm... not sure. However well I try and sew it together it still clashes a little. It's tricky :/

No need to worry about changing it I don't think, it's just something to keep in mind next time.

Keyblade
June 18th 2014


26612 Comments


Didn't realize this had a review, sweet

Keyblade
September 13th 2014


26612 Comments


Pinching Point is so LP5. Love this album

Avagantamos
November 19th 2016


6404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this didn't grab me as much as i had hoped...

Cyberduck
March 29th 2017


223 Comments


Maybe you should try "Negativ" and "Burn Plate" instead.

AdolfChrist
July 18th 2017


19749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how do his other albums compare to this stylistically?

Digging: Mylingar - Doda Vagar



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