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039 somatic responses. touching the void. 12". june2k2


giorni di malattia
touching the void
rwy eisiau dy gariad


all tracks written and produced by js & pa healy,
except id8 by p healy, p alpturer & n bryan.
id12 original mix by k.simpson.
mastered at metarc, belgium.

this is the third strike of the welsh healy brothers on hymen. they continue their electronic assaults on the open-minded idm generation. their sound mixes rhythmic rage with melodic lines while touching the void between 'tech' and 'industrial'.

it seems that john and paul healy's creative output is bigger than whales -
you get 70+ minutes on the cd version and you will enjoy every second of it!

noisy rhythms, idm influences, broken drum and bass beats,
complex structures and layers.



and few random notes i put together after listening to it: first of all, the cover design is stellar - really represents their sound for me - complex and yet so precise and polished. i love the way they move more and more into the space between rhythmic noise, idm and drum&bass - complex, heavily layered tracks with a groove and a drive [i catch myself nodding along to some of them, similar to celluloid mata's explosive groove]; so tasty, so crunchy and filled with delicious sonic treats - layer upon layer of swirling, cascading, flowing and breaking noises; strings even more tightly integrated into the overall texture; complexity that is heavy, full-bodied, deep. they really are pushing this genre, no one else is doing anything similar. excellent work - varied, rich, driving, one of those gems that define hymen as a label. strangely, the more complex their material gets, the easier it is for me to re-interpret the music, to visualize it; in a same way as new ammo, xhm2 or c-drik get to me; what is different though, is that instead of "opening up", minimizing the music to let the listener re-interpret it, the same effect is reached through increasing complexity, overall richness of music. it is quite unexpected, and [of course] very welcome. yet another phenomenon - it is memorable (in this reproducible kind of way). i mean, how many idm tracks can i remember off the top of my head?! (although it might be familiar somatics "feel", the "afterglow" of their music). i love the composition of this album - such a nice balance between intricate sound and fluid, flowing textures that constantly morph and evolve. one enjoys the drive of it, the "melody" [so to speak], and yet when you dig in deeper, there are so many little sonic treats all over the place - this multilayered, gradually building (as you go through the layers) experience. i guess to summarize, it is a next step, and as usual, hymen displayed excellent choise, picking very strong tracks that really work well together. the release is a step forward, continuing blending the genres in a way that only somatix can, with precision, accuracy and drive that always characterized them.

i'll just say it for the record. if you don't like somatic responses, there's something wrong with you. "touching the void" is the damning evidence why. managing to merge the rougher sides of their circumflex cd and even their dark lsd release with the more idm/dsp friendly work of "augmented lines", the somatics go even further. cascading arrays of instrumentals line the album, bouncing off and bracketing in rough broken beats. synths wash in ways previously unexplored by the healy's, we hear waterfalls, dripping synth harps being crushed by the various types of distortion. all the while a churning modernist motor-beat carries us, occasionally being overwhelmed by the utter ambience. truly the ambience and synth-work on this album is the finest to date by the brothers. "giorni di malattia" is a personal favorite, broaching granite beats against a night-time lone breakdancer synth with mechanistic distortion taking its toll in the foreground. "rwy eisiau dy gariad" takes advantage of the previously mentioned synth innovations and thunders forth with a wrangled distortion and blinking city light pads illuminating the murder. highly recommended.


from the deepest darkest recesses of wales comes paul and john healy's third album for hymen. constantly developing and refining their sound, somatic responses are one of the very few artists that manage to blur the lines between electronic music genres. with several years experience and a myriad of singles, albums, compilation tracks and remixes to their name, the healys never fail to come up with something interesting with every release. on the face of it, the somatic responses sound is a fusion of rhythmic beats and experimental electronic influences but on closer inspection there is much more depth to their music. the healys smoothly combine thudding rhythmic beats with experimental clicks, scrapes and synths whilst placing the whole lot over a gently sweeping backdrop. although sometimes hidden by the other elements in the music the sweeping ambient atmospherics are there and can best be heard on tracks such as "adeladia" and "carousel". in contrast, tracks like "deadzone" and "diode diaries" are more in line with rhythmic noise artists pal or synapscape with their pounding beats, whooshing synths and vibrating basslines. on other tracks, "giorni di malattia" and "carousel" for example, the healys take the beats and hazy basslines of rhythmic noise and fuse them with the synth lines of experimental electronic music to create a hybrid of the two. then there are tracks like "stuff arbennig" and "touching the void" that move almost completely away from rhythmic noise and towards the more experimental electronic side of the genre. always shifting and combining styles in a way that does not detract from the somatics sound, the healys produce predominantly rhythmic noise based music with experimental and ambient elements added to the mix. forever enhancing and developing their sound, touching the void is subtly diverse in influence but maintains cohesion throughout. (paul lloyd)


i thought they'd repeat themselves so close after the release of the "dying language" ep. i was mistaken. this is different yet again. heavy and groovy in a slick way, with less distortion, but not as obviously melodious and idm'ish as the previous ep. it's very pumping and driving. i really dig it. beat cascades and alluring melodies with not so cold atmospheres. it also contains less broken beats and fragments. it's real tracks with a plot line. a compact release that unfolds slowly but vehemently. by now they have carved out a niche between electronica and industrial techno that is unmistakably theirs. they have a way of interweaving infectious groove with noisy sounds and warm melodies that is very unique and enrapturing. damn thumpy beats and futuristic space sounds. why can't you get out of my head! (till)

vital weekly

third full length-album from the two irish brothers, john and paul healy, calling themselves somatic responses does stay true to the sound of their previous albums. and that certainly is not bad news.
the sound of somatic responses is unmistakable. not because that the combination of harsh breakbeats and technoid sounds are new and unexplored. quite a few artists on german label hymen as well as fellow-label ant-zen recordings work within that area. what separates somatic responses from others is the ability to combine harsh sounds and warm ambience into a superb blend. beauty meets ugly. like floating in landscapes of futuristic decay, the listener gets surrounded by harsh technoid breakbeats that swirl inside dark waves of sonic ambience. sinister as well as beautiful. somatic responses manage to stay balanced between if not extremely aggressive, then quite abrasive noise and soundscapes of beautiful ambience. somatic responses works in areas between industrial, power noise and drum'n'bass, but certainly the musical spectre stretches much further than just that. title track "touching the void" has a funky feeling of broken break-beats and a sort of spacey melody, that reminds me of one of the very first jungle-releases ever and my unbeatable favourite within the breakbeat-style: t-power's "the self-evident truth of an intuitive mind" released on s.o.u.r. records back in 1995. "touching the void" is an, in all senses, superb album by somatic responses, if not their best work to date. i think i vote for the last! (nmp)


coloro che sanno quando e' uscito questo cd, non lo dicano in giro per favore, perdonate il ritardo ma una recensione dei somatics ci vuole. le immagini del digipack rendono gia' l'idea di cosa si sta per ascoltare: materiale ipertecnologico, industriale, metallico, intricato, fatto di strutture che si sovrappongono che non lasciano facilmente capire i singoli componenti. che siano le architetture futuristiche in copertina o gli strati di breakbeats delle 13 tracce, la sensazione e' molto simile. adelaida ci accoglie in questo scenario con beats distorti, bassi prorompenti e una densa atmosfera di archi sintetici e synths urlanti, interrotta da breakdowns perforanti. il paio di pezzi seguenti prosegue in maniera simile anche se con minore intensita', per poi arrivare a due dei momenti piu' suggestivi dell'intero album. deadzone si presenta da subito con una tensione palpabile di suoni elettrici ed epici, immediatamente supportati da breaks metallici che preludono ad una sferzata acida e gelida prima di collassare in una frenetica cavalcata di breakbeats mozzafiato. successivamente diode diaries porta al culmine la gia' elevata tensione con una sorta di funk mutante, che incomincia in maniera sommessa per poi finire sommerso da beats di derivazione hip hop distorti fino all'inverosimile, sfiorando la zona nera del noise. molto radicale ma affascinante. il resto di touching the void prosegue con quest'idea del contrasto fra una base ritmica spinta all'eccesso e un maestoso e cupo scenario ambientale, con risultati migliori nelle ultime quattro tracce, delle quali la 12, onwards, e' sinceramente terrorizzante, mentre trovo abbastanza noiosa la 8, di cui avrei fatto volentieri a meno, unico episodio stonato. c'e' anche spazio per un unico pezzo diciamo cosi' tranquillo, stuff arbennig, non pesta con casse distorte ma l'ambientazione fredda e tetra rimane in sintonia col resto. assolutamente da non prendere a cuor leggero, bisogna avere una certa predisposizione per il ritmo massiccio, altrimenti vi sembrera' solo un muro di suono impenetrabile. per gli appassionati invece cio' che di meglio c'e' in giro. (luca)

sequenze distorte e sporco drum and bass, assalti sonici, di matrice industrial e noisy, catartiche dissipazioni d'energia, progressivamente operate da john e paul healy, alla loro terza uscita per la hymen, a partire dal 1999, anno di circumflex (e senza dimenticare augmented lines, di due anni successivo). articolate, mobili architetture di suoni, dalle ritmiche crude, con linee melodiche e progettate frammentazioni, dilatando e comprimendo, filtrando, enfatizzando ripetizioni e differenze, convertendo la qualita dei suoni in movimento ritmico. tredici incisioni, a cominciare dai soffocati ruggiti tech di 'adeladia', vento, polvere sui circuiti, un motivo lancinante, perduto nel tempo, che ritorna, accartocciandosi su se stesso. anche la seconda traccia, 'autista ubriqco', tutta la produzione, pulsa e raschia, in sottofondo, nascoste, una quantita enorme di frequenze, decifrabili a fatica, secondo differenti livelli di applicazione e attenzione. zone morte nelle nostre normali connessioni che vengono stimolate fino ad assurgere a nuova vita. (aurelio cianciotta)


somatic responses continue their evolution, with distinctive soft smooth beats, that are both rolling and funky at the same time. beat driven, it is nevertheless to experimental to work on the dancefloor (or at least my stompy idea of what a dancefloor should be). to a certain extent, i find every somatic response cd is more of the same, with them playing and experimenting with their style a bit (loosing their more noisy elements), and maybe its a little hypocritical that when a band like funker vogt release more of the same, i dislike it, but when somatic responses do it, i like it. but i guess i just find where sr begins more interesting than from, what i consider, the bland base from which fv conceptualize album after album from. i'll admit my hypocrisy, and yet claim that even thought sr has such a distinct sound, their is still creativity within each individual song, something missing from more formulaic ebm bands. (squid)


somatic responses discography on hymen records 06.2002:
circumflex. cd. y705. 1999
revula. 12", y018. 1999
augmented lines. cd. y713. 2001
augmented lines. 12". y030. 2001
touching the void. cd. y723. 2002
touching the void. 12". y039. 2002
please take a look at the s.r. website for a full discography.

somatic responses webpage: