|outside the box||*.mp3|
|reset the world||*.mp3|
|cut up musick||*.mp3|
a new sign of life from wales - john and paul healy, well-known as
somatic responses produced a new fulltime masterpiece of electronic
sound wizzardry. almost two years have passed since giauzar and it
seems the brothers used their time not only for the explorations of new tonal and atonal scapes, they also went for a re-analysis of their roots.the digital darkness described here is a dry, drawn out universe of
distorted chromatic basses, straightened heavy beats and swirling filter pulses, establishing ties from the times when the tb-303 took over technoid music up to the nineties where speed increased and
rhythms became dodgier. stylistic classifications were never somatic responses' aim, nevertheless, digital darkness might be rated as one of their most straight-lined works since years - f.e. you never heard s.r.
as speedy as they are on the title track or 'reset the world'. their typical ingredients like unique strings usage are still present ('stranded'), the enrichment with some blasts from the past makes digital darkness a mixture which will kick your eardrums in.
a review in russian language can be found on the machinist's website:
almost two years after their last album somatic responses strikes again with “digital darkness”. the album consists of 15 brand new tracks which perfectly fit with the title of the album. what immediately becomes clear when you start listening to the album is that this is not a groundbreaking trip into the unexplored regions of music or some other so called renewed take on industrial music. nothing of that, instead the two brothers from wales make a welcome return to where it all started, the roots of electronic underground music. from cowbells and heavy 303 bass lines to straight rhythms and dry snares, all ingredients that made up the electronic music of yesterday are present. no overly complex beats and structures or overdone digital edits. does that mean it also sounds aged? well yes, but in a rather positive sense. overall most of the tracks have a really oldschool vibe but with the quality of today’s standards and off course some unmistakable somatic responses ingredients. this makes for an interesting mix and, in contrary to what you might expect, a refreshing album. the end result still heavily depends on how much you are used to today’s music with all its digital editing and processing. within the bulk of new electronic music with insane details and always increasing complexity “digital darkness” may come of as a bit dry and bland on the first time. further listening however can reveal a much richer and exiting experience as you are drawn into the album and “listening to” transforms into “feeling” the sound. a refreshing sidestep back to the roots of an act that has since remained a constant factor in underground electronic music. (niels)
digital darkness! they couldn’t find any better title for this beautiful album. somatic responses are magicians, like no one else they are able to create tracks that “look beautiful” like a rose and have a scary background like straight out of hell. this album is amazing, it is accessible but not dull, and it combines classic analogue instruments citation’s with modern sounds. the mood of each track is so deep and multilayered, that you will fall deeper and deeper into a hidden world of sound. right from the start with the great opening track “duality” this album owns energy without a pause, but its not this straight in your face sound its intelligent handled energy like walking a marathon. it’s disturbing and fun to listen to this album. it’s more technoid and danceable compared to its antecessor, but somatic responses doesn’t lost nothing of their typical attitude and sound with this step. this album is a landmark and a wonderful bittersweet journey into a beautiful hell of bits and bytes. great! 100% approvable..
"digital darkness" is the newest chapter in the healy brothers legacy and their fifth full-length release for the well-respected hymen records. while known for their selected brand of stabbing, dark idm and furious drum 'n bass collages, somatic responses take their formula one step backwards this time by adding a variety of squelching 303-style acid tweaking and marginal vocal samples to their recipe. tempos run high here, spewing forth fifteen neurotic and maddening tracks of glitch-laden, headache-inducing, face-slapping aural onslaughts driven by layer after layer of disconcerting vintage synthlines and brain-battering beat work. though many intriguing sounds are present throughout the album, it may be challenging for some listeners to distinguish one bewildering track from the next. while the arrangements are tight and the programming complex, "digital darkness" reveals no apparent direction and ultimately comes off as a festering mass of volatile insolence, settling in comfortably as an unadorned novelty that only current somatic responses enthusiasts could appreciate. laced with varying degrees of sparse originality, this release lacks any sort of objective or viable substance, and should be regarded as such. when it all boils down and the last spurt of clamor finally flutters away, "digital darkness" is merely a sonic mugging, disguised as empty innovation, by drunken machines behaving badly. the intention behind this mishmash of exhaustive noise archetypes may be difficult to surmise for those not familiar with somatic responses' style, however existing fans should find a meaty assortment of din delicacies to ingest here. (paul nielsen)
immer gut, von den beiden walisern neue musik zu hören. gerade, wenn es eine derartige oldschool-attacke ist. die beiden brüder haben schon so ziemlich jeden stil der elektronischen musik durchexerziert, so lange es dark war, ging alles. gabba, hardcore, elektronika, ambient. und jetzt diese obskure mischung aus sehr erwachsenem sounddesign und der puren kraft der 303 im vordergrund. und alte breaks, und gabba-bassdrums. das ist immer cool, wenn sie sich selbst im zaum halten. wenn es aber zu arg techsteppig wird, denk ich immer an panacea und dann bin ich raus.
die somatix sind mal wieder in sich gegangen. besser gesagt an ihre wurzeln: im metallischen rhythmusgewitter verbraten sie viel klangmaterial auf acid- und electro-nostalgie. die beats rattern nicht mehr unbedingt mit 200 bpm um die kurve, sondern lassen auch mal im midtempo die funkige sau raus, oder setzen gleich ganz auf jungle-beats. leider bleibt es alles etwas ohne eigenen charakter. dieser dunkle, sehr eigene klang der alben um die jahrtausendwende ist einer geschliffenen high-tech-ästhetik gewichen, die nicht mehr so originell klingt wie anno dazumal. schade, leider nur solide. (till)
another act with a quite good name finally returns on the train of the hymen label, somatic responses, the dual project of the brothers john and paul healy. they’ve been always thrown into that experimental/idm-related music genre, so there wasn’t any real reason to change this. they still produce heavy and unusual beat constructions, experimental filter, effect manipulations and a globally ruling nervousness recognizable in nearly every track. fans of layered synth pads or at least a little melodic input will be heavily disappointed with this new 77 minutes long album. though they are picking up some traditionally ideas like the use of a tb-303 as being a main bass line synth, the problem with this release belongs on the overwhelming use of difficult to check and dance to rhythm section. breakbeat, clicks’n’dub and a doze of rough distortion destroy almost everything what could place something in like a mood. two rather down-tempo like tunes with “stranded” and “neu” have to be picked out as a proof, that the brothers healy have a sense for the right mixture. but generally only 2 convincing tracks out of 15 of a hammering ice-desert isn’t a fair amount. (marc tater)
vital weekly 631
since i first time fell into the sounds of irish project somatic responses on hymen records' teknoir-compilation (1999), the style of the two brothers, john and paul healy has fascinated me. the first albums had a sort-of futuristic atmosphere with almost emotional interventions in-between. on this fifth cd-release since the debut-album "circumflex" (1999), somatic responses has taken the full step into, as they call it themselves, "digital darkness". hardly any melody to disrupt the ongoing machine of complex rhythm textures or the cynic technoid steelscapes, though a few tracks ("invincible", "go on" and "bushido") includes emotional atmospheres showing that dark age of digitalism is not exclusively harsh and cold, but also has some sort emotional aspect inside. another great work by somatic responses. (nm)
c'est avec plaisir que l'on retrouve somatic responses pour de nouvelles aventures. la recette on l'a connaît, des rythmiques complexes sur lesquelles surfent des gimmiques analogiques implacables. l'unité de l'album, la cohérence des sons, l'énergie qui se dégage des rythmiques fait penser à une performance live lors d'une free party dans la campagne galloise. les frères healy sont de retour pour secouer vos carcasses ankylosées à l'aide de breaks endiablés et de montées acides pour chauffer à blanc un dancefloor martial. le titre de l'album, digital darkness, me paraît particulièrement mal choisi puisqu'il ne reflète en rien la forte empreinte analogique et le côté festif, même si on danse au milieu des ruines d'exploitations minières désaffectées.
in the world of electronic music there aren't too many projects or acts that survive for a very long time. only a few big names can output music at a constant rate for longer than 10 years. somatic responses, responsible for some of my all-time favorite albums, is such a project. 2008 brings their latest full album, marking another important change in their style. somatic responses has been outputting music since 1995, visiting an impressive range of quality labels, including praxis, zhark, uncivilized world, component, ad noiseam, sublight and of course hymen. their 9th full album sees them returning to the old hymen stable. somatic responses has been defying classification since the early beginning. as they started out they took their influences from hardcore and terror, later on they evolved to more idm like sounds, working their way up to breakcore, but always remaining close to their typical style and broken beats. they never really belonged to a certain crowd and never really compared to other artists. with digital darkness they took another turn, following the current acid hype. needless to say, they didn't just jump on the bandwagon, they reinterpreted the new acid wave to fit the sr mold. the result is a culmination of 13 years somatic responses, banging, pounding and blowing from start to finish. digital darkness might not be a true concept album, it surely behaves like one. it's difficult to pick any favorite tracks from the album, and upon listening the first couple of times there are not many tracks that draw your immediate attention. the album is all about experiencing the whole. there aren't many easily recognizable elements (string melodies or vocal samples), but there's a very nice flow between the songs in the track list to connect everything together. as for their new style, digital darkness sounds like a combination of all their previous influences. in cut up musick, the use of old 303 samples is most notable, recreating the dirty sound of the good old hardcore tracks. go on features the typical flangey sound effects found in their idm-inspired times, the title track brings out the breakcore influences and shreds any remaining doubts. some have called this their most banging album to date, but that's probably because they are not familiar with some of their older tracks. that said, digital darkness is a truly banging and pumping experience from start to finish. melodies are hidden behind layered structures of distorted and fucked up rhythms (but they are definitely there) and beats keep pounding away throughout the album. after the final crunches have faded away, there's a definite feeling of adrenaline rush, slowly fading as the peace and quiet settles in again. there's little use in commenting on individual tracks, though digital darkness is my obvious favorite. the albums works marvelously as a whole, with no weak points, marking another good step forward for the two brothers. impressive as an album, even more impressive considering they've been making music for more than 10 years in a row. everyone with a taste for harsh and relentless electronica should check this out.
of no doubt, this is the best album of somatic responses and obviously one of the most outstanding releases of hymen records this year. it's unexpected and surprising, conceptual and frightening like night itself. during last two years since the time of giauzar's release the musicians understood their true destination, improved their work and strengthened up to the highest level of listeners' destruction. this album really gladdened all fans of this welsh project, they thought that best times of sr are left behind, but guys made a great surprise for their admirers. some two years have passed and this team recorded a new album of very high quality. this release is a real breakthrough of the year! total somatic responses's revival. this album starts with track "duality" powerful drum-machine, bits of which tell us about absolutely different, new music. maybe you'll have new vision of the project and notice new features of their creative work which were not obvious earlier. while listening to the next track "outside the box" you feel as if you pass through dark spaces of galaxy on a high-speed all-terrain vehicle; stars, comets, sparks fly away from crawler. "outside the box" - high time to come out of the box. track "human bass" hypnotize with its metallic robotized voice, move the words in a circle like some invocation and dissolve it in the stream of syncopated rhythm. title composition "digital darkness" starts with rustling idm-rhythms creeping up to the listener from all around, a little bit damped panorama reminding some aliens's invasion. three-dimensional voluminous sound, colorful palette of interlacing sounds-palpi, usage of legendary device tb-303 in absolutely new way. a great variety of various musical experiments. in "reset the world" you can touch the depths of surrounding world, feel space, hear time drop second by second. a little bit later we meet crazy drums with syncopated bits making the night dance. "stranged", "neu", "bushido" - listening to these tracks advanced listener will hardly recognize in them former sr. these are really new standards musicians presented to their listeners, very fresh, conceptual and exquisite sounding, in previous works of this welsh duet we could hardly find anything like that. by the way, fans of piercing rhythms, ubrupt sound loops and uncontrolled agression will also find something special in this album. such compositions as "beatbyter", "invincible", "cut up musick", "go on" are very powerful industrial collages of techno-plant core, they can easily brake down the loudspeakers of your acoustic system or collapse the avalanche of steel rails into the ears of an amateur listener. it makes album digital darkness not only attractive and breathtaking but also dangerous at the same time. inner strength and outward beauty are the key principles of the musicians in this release. "buzarro", "scorpio" are the last two tracks - harmonious finish of cyber-aliens' invasion. circle closed up. if you ever thought of getting rid of aggresion, well forget about throwing computers through the window or fightings in offices. in such mood that's enough just to listen to this disc and deepen into its content. digital darkness waits for you with open arms.
somatic responses discography on hymen records 02.2008:
circumflex. cd. ¥705. 1999
revula. lp, ¥018. 1999
augmented lines. cd / lp. ¥713 / ¥030. 2001
touching the void. cd / lp. ¥723 / ¥039. 2002
pounded mass. cd / lp. ¥741 / ¥048. 2005
giauzar ep. 12". ¥053. 2006
digital darkness. cd. ¥764. 2008
please take a look at the s.r. website for a full discography.
somatic responses webpage: