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¥705 somatic responses . circumflex . cd . september 1999 [deleted]

first 140 copies are packed in original x-ray films (as covercard & booklet, clear jewel case). each cover is unique.

tracklist:

umbrella
*.ra
ivtephx
*.ra
ucircumflex
*.ra
oldrosv
*.ra
the storm
*.ra
wherever
*.ra
open window
*.ra
fourty
*.ra
halfway
*.ra
androstyle
*.ra
revula
*.ra
catflap
*.ra

 

john and paul healy, collectively known throughout the world as somatic responses, are native residents of a small industrial mining community snugly located in the southwest region of wales. amongst the 20,000 inhabitants of the city of ammanford, a sometimes-overbearing intimacy exists, where everyone knows everyone else, and where traditional welsh lifestyle is still the common trend.this is all quite an interesting backdrop indeed, when considering it has been the environment in which the somatic responses have consistently produced some of the world's most abrasive and original electronic music for the past 8 years. as john healy states, "our lives are completely external to this environment and lifestyle... our sound has no deep connection to our surroundings. i think we care more about where we are mentally than where we are physically, with reference to our music." this contrast becomes immediately apparent upon hearing the somatics' actual material. while maintaining a consistent balance of the aggressive and the introspective over the years, their sounds have been shown to be extremely diverse. the somatic responses intend to push their own experimentation in electronic music further with every passing day. somatic responses are into dislocated & broken beats that still retain rhythm. another consistent theme in the somatics' music is their tendency to design, construct, and decimate complex structures of sound, while ranging the level of architecture from the most intricate manipulation to complete fluctuation of mood and theme.

the sounds could be labeled as industrial with complex dislocated rhythms and associated structures filled with pure plasic and atari cookies.

somatic responses discography (08.99)

methods of mutilation-cfet (hamburg)
riot frequencies-sockwave ltd (frankfurt)
agent orange #2 (frankfurt)
subspace distorters-drop bass network (millaukee)
sinister movements-sixsixtysix (millaukee)
axon ep-ist (new york)
post organic-praxis (london)
incubation-praxis (dead by dawn comp- london & technohead 4 - london)
agent orange #4 (frankfurt)
xynomorph- anodyne (frankfurt)
dark lsd-dark matter (newcastle, uk)
missile test-cfet (hamburg)
gale of funk/chromophore-land speed record-cfet (hamburg)
malignant earth-network 23 (paris)
passage ep-ufo (london)
source of disturbance-future galactic (brussells)
acute ep-sixshooter (brussells)
cerebral dominance in 3 phases-techno trash car (polygram- paris)
sixshooter #3 (brussells)
uncivilised world #5 (paris)
sixshooter #6 (brussells)
thorn/junkjam - killout records (london)
hitashu - nature records (rome)
sixshooter 007(belgium)
hymen full length cd + lp (germany)

 

seven

seems like hymen has not yet released a single bad (or even average) cd. "circumflex" is not an exception. "somatic responses" consists of john and paul healy (originating from uk); they have been around the music scene for over eight years and have released an impressive number of recordings. somatic responses delivers the sound that is abrasive, dislocated and very complex. take drum'n'bass, twist it, cut it up, fill with noise and broken beats and you get the basic idea of what the band sounds like. i cannot help comparing it to passarani and beefcake that share the same label. while passarani is more minimal, the mysterious synths on "circumflex" bring back the ufo themes of "unspeakable future outbreaks"; dense and rich sounds that collapse and re-assemble carrying the melody on immediately bring beefcake to your mind. somatic responses has a lot more standard hooks and samples from the drum'n'bass scene than the bands mentioned above, but those sounds are transformed and changed to create a distinct and original music. each song changes all the time keeping you constantly on your toes and amazing you with unexpected changes in mood and tempo. my favorite tracks on the album include "oldrosv" that starts out with a clean synth, and then the beat trickles in - delicate and small; the song has a gentle and almost transparent feel to it. "the storm" features a menacing and cold beginning that gets torn apart by heavy distorted beat. the track escalates and suddenly explodes in your face with the fountain of broken chaotic beats. after this outburst it slows down again leaving you with the synth followed by yet another explosion. the sound on this track is amazingly dense with the beats taking the song to the extremes. "wherever" balances heavy looping distorted percussion with a growing synthlines on the background. the track turns, stops, goes back... regains the momentum and plunges into the depths of dislocated breakbeat chaos. "fourty" is yet another fast track with abrasive heavy percussion and mysterious atmosphere. "circumflex" will definitely make it into my top 10 for this year and it has all the features you've been looking for - uniqueness, complexity, distorted intelligent sound, fascinating sonic structures, force and beauty that is rarely matched by anyone else.

zillo, 12/99

zerstörend, brachial, rhythmisch, vertrackt, cineastisch, sphärisch, kurzum: maschinelle unberechenbarkeit im tech-industrialgewand. die sounds marschieren ohne kompromissbereitschaft in die "hallo wach"-regionen unseres hirns, die stromstärke dabei auf intensive stufe gedreht. nicht etwa eine geheime kollaboration zwischen aphex twin, autechre, skinny puppy und imminent starvation steckt hier dahinter, nein, es sind zwei jungs aus wales, die ihrem angezügelten jagdtrieb nach wild wirbelnden brachialbreakbeats und harmonischen backgrounds ausleben. stroboskope zucken vom wahnsinn gepackt, das adrenalin schießt in alle körperteile. die ersten 140 exemplare werden in einer speziellen x-ray-verpackung ausgeliefert, da heißt`s für die fans orgiastischer maschinen-architektur mal wieder "komm in die puschen".

auf abwegen, nr. 28, herbst `99

somatic responses ist eines jener alben, von denen ant-zen meines erachtens eine zeitlang etwas zu viel released hatte. treibende beats, die immer überrissen-brutal klingen und den sound derart prägen, daß feinere zwischentöne wegfallen oder entnervt nicht wahrgenommen werden. zwar ist der ansatz, geräuschfreaks auf die tanzfläche zu bringen lobenswert und gutgemeint, verpufft aber manchmal auch durch zu artverwandte soundmittel und -ästhetik. schöne gestaltung gibt es trotzdem.

orkus, oktober `99

bei diesem neuzugang auf dem hymen-label heißt es, schnell zuzugreifen, denn die ersten 140 exemplare des cd-albums werden in einem genial aussehenden, transparenten x-ray-artwork ausgeliefert. aber nicht nur die optischen reize sprechen für die anschaffung von "circumflex". als wenn es darum gegangen wäre, eine fortsetzung für aphex twins bahnbrechendes "classics"-album oder die "analogue bubblebath"-ep-reihe zu schreiben, adaptierte das aus wales stammende duo somatic responses genau jenen markanten stilmix aus schmatzenden basslines, noiseloops und orchestralen, melodiösen flächensounds. die breakbeat-artig zerhackte rhythmik wirkt noch weithaus packender und treibender als auf mr. james` frühwerken, und außerdem verzichtet das brüderpaar healy glücklicherweise auf allzu nervtötende lärmausbrüche. abgesehen von der klanglich wesentlich komplexeren herangehensweise an die materie, erinnert "circumflex" stellenweise auch ein wenig an imminent starvations letzten streich "nord". selbst wenn innovation und abwechslung nicht gerade die großen stärken von somatic responses zu sein scheinen, werden alle fans der vorher genannten alben voll auf ihre kosten kommen. industrial techno par excellence!

zillo, 11/99

dass die beiden walisischen brüder john und paul healy keine neulinge auf dem gebiet der elektronischen musik sind, hört man ihren neuen album durchaus an. schließlich timmeln sich die beiden seit gut acht jahren in der szene und können auf veröffentlichungen bei labels aus hamburg, frankfurt, rom, brüssel, london, paris und new york verweisen. mit "circumflex" präsentieren die beiden ein sehr kompakt arrangiertes werk, das aus teilweise sehr sphärischen soundscapes besteht, die von komplexen rhythmen zerhackt werden und dadurch tanzbare dimensionen erhalten. dabei gehen harmonische strukturen, die sich gleich im ohr festsetzen, hand in hand mit intelligenten breakbeats und experimentellen, meist durch verzerrungen generierten klängen, die ein interessantes hörerlebnis versprechen.

debug. 10.99

so klingt wales: die beiden brüder john & paul healy haben in den letzten jahren den hardcore-unterground mitgeprägt wie kaum ein anderes produzententeam. wo andere das 'fuck you'-sample setzten, verblüften sie einen immer wieder grossen ideen. genauso klingt 'circumflex'. die totale reizüberflutung an distortion, two-step anleihen, den düstersten melodien, old-schooligen sounds, komplexen arrangements, kranken breaks und dem schuss cleverness, der heute so vielen fehlt. viele drum'n'basser, und ich habe so eine bestimmte szene aus deutschland besonders vor augen - können einpacken. ganz klar. die somatix sind besser. und wenn ich jetzt noch sage, dass sie von beats auf eine bestimmte weise mindestens soviel wie autechre verstehen... thaddi *****

black 17.

somatic responses kommen aus england oder besser gesagt aus wales und machen für diese region eigentlich recht untypische musik. kennt man von dort ja am besten die generationsterroristen und jetzige weltschmerzverbreiter manic street preachers (die mag ich auch sehr!) bzw. die desolate situation der wirtschaft. auch sehr düster und gruftig beginnen die synthies bei somatic responses, aber schnell stellt sich ein aggressiver rhythmus ein und schlägt die brücke vom industrial zum break beat-techno. mit jedem der insgesamt 12 tracks entfernt man sich immer mehr vom rhythmic-industrial-kontext und wird grooviger bzw. verspielter. am ehesten kann man das album bzw. somatic responses mit autechre in ihrer mittleren phase vergleichen, aber auch fans von imminent starvation dürften auf ihre kosten kommen. die ersten 140 cd sind übrigens unikate, da sie als cover bzw. im tray ein originales x-ray-bild haben. die hymen-lp (wie immer nur echt mit briefmarke!) bietet neben drei albumtracks noch zwei exklusive stücke und auch auf der hymen-compilation "teknoir" gibt es einen weiteren sonst unveröffentlichten track. (m.f.)

modulazioni industriali

texture oscure e inquietanti sormontate da intricatissimi intrecci ritmici sono il marchio di john e paul healy aka somatic responses . il loro nuovo lavoro appena uscito per la hymen records è un vero concentrato di manipolazioni elettro-percussive e deviazioni sintetiche che pur mantenendo un notevole grado di aggressività non si spingono fino al rumore bianco fine a se stesso. anzi, mostrano una ricerca continua nella continua costruzione-distruzione del ritmo, una precisione e una cura nei dettagli che potrebbe rappresentarsi quasi come un incrocio mutante tra il più oscuro aphex twin e la tradizione industrial. un vero must per i più incalliti sostenitori dell'ortodossia elettronica proposto da un'etichetta di qualità. (paolo virdis)1

the giant monster kaiju / optikonrekords. optikonrekords@hotmail.com
"circumflex" the new release from somatic responses is an absolutely incredible mix of aggressive technoid rhythms with powerful percussion with synched melodic strings in the background laced with various tweaked out noises. from the very start "umbrella" begins with flowy string laden ambience then quickly attacks the listener with extremely hard beats and deranged sounds. this by far is my favorite track on the album and also one of the strongest. "ivtephx" continues in this fashion but ends up evolving into a more sound based song with 4/4 distorted percussion making this swirly and heavily processed (almost wet) sounding track a floor stomper while dissecting your brain with the tormented sounds it produces. "ucircumflex" mellows things out with dark hypnotic sounds then slowly bringing in the beat,this time it is more metallic and repetitive which makes this long track a little slower paced than the others. "oldrosv" moves into quiet dark ambience, atonal and droney with a beat that creeps up and sounds almost like a little yippy robotic dog barking (yes i hear strange things). a few cosmic sounds bleed in and out and another layer of drums fill things end better and keeps things moving. "the stomp", which by it's title i expected something that would move my feet to a heavy thumpin beat...but instead it is kind of slow with alot of repetitive klankiness, but before it lulls off it moves into a rut some very noisy high end percussion kicks in, drifts into dark ambience, and comes back again. "wherever" calms down with a more lax sounding drum pattern amidst spacey strings, that cut out and return slightly changed. overall a very chilled out track compared to the chaos of the majority of this album."open window" begins as a typical rhytmic noise track, very loopy sounding with slight additions here and there. nothing extremely different here. "fourty" starts dark and quiet as it seems to be somatic's way of doing things. this track brings back the chaotic drum programming with some really nasty and interesting effects added to the drums about halfway through the song. this also pick up as it progresses with the addition of some bizarre orchestrated sounds. "halfway" immediately starts with fx tweaked drums as background layers of rhythm build and turn into a fast paced track with many changes throughout. i like this track alot because of some of the really cool background sounds. "androstyle" is a little more downtempo relying more on the low end unlike most of their other tracks. fairly repetitious until about halfway through when a few more layers are added. "revula" starts off with clean strings in a very calm manner then thumpy distorted drums kick in to scramble the ambience along with some harsh sounds which all blend together to make a really cool track which stands out from some of the more repetitive tracks. "catflap" (where do they get these names?) is the most lo fi and minimal sounding track on the album. its very high end with clicky drums and some very odd sounds that gradually build but never overpower the drums. overall, a very good album with some very strong songs despite a couple of sleepers. i think it is a little more noisy at times than most of the hymen releases but it still has the strong idm influence that most hymen releases are known to carry. this project overall has alot more originality in the sounds and structures they use despite some repetition that is currently over used in many rhythmic noise bands. a really great release from hymen, i can't wait to see what the next sm material will sound like.


... idm list
at last, just what we've been waiting for - an idm/doomcore crossover album! somatic responses' cicumflex starts off sounding like having your head sawn in half while the world explodes. i think there's a lot to be said for this kind of music. whereas much of the harder, industrial end of dance music has a certain lowbrow, throwaway quality to it, somatic responses is intelligent and atmospheric in it's brutality. not that it's entirely as brutal as you might expect, as the album progresses interesting rhythms are introduced which would not be unfamiliar to fans of autechre or the schematic sound, and in parts there are even, dare i say it, rather beautiful melodies here, in a harsh sort of way. circumflex is all about atmosphere, in many ways it takes me back to the late eighties and the violence and complexity of skinny puppy, but there's a lot for the idm listener too. to be listened to very loudly.


xipharg. www.centreimage.ch/blue/xipharg
somatic responses, duo anglais issu d'une communauté minière du sud de wales, compte actuellement parmi les chefs de file de l'underground breakbeat industriel. après plus d'une vingtaine de productions sur les labels-phare du genre (praxis, agent orange, sixshooter), leur nouveau cd circumflex fait le point sur leur parcours musical et démontre une fois de plus leur indéniable talent en matière de mutilation sonore. désorientation, répétition, paranoïa - tels sont les mots d'ordre qui régissent les 12 compositions de cet album, assemblage monstrueux de rythmiques breakbeat/jungle mutantes et de nappes de synthés maladives qui semblent échappées de la bande-son d'un thriller cyberpunk. si autechre représente la version psychotrope d'une partie de tétris sur game-boy, somatic responses fournissent l'équivalent musical d'une finale de doom en réseau neuro-matriciel. en effet, personne n'a jamais aussi bien rendu cette impression de tourner en rond dans un labyrinthe de béton virtuel, coincé à jamais dans un foutu stage intermédiaire, prêt à se faire charcuter d'une seconde à l'autre par une horde de cyborgs insectoïdes... x+ (certifié conforme aux normes xipharg).

equinoxe ausgabe 11

krasse sounds wie aus dem inneren einer gigantischen evolutionsmaschine, die akustische umsetzung von werden und vergehen, von produktion, konsum und wiederverwertung, kakophonie als treibender impuls einer neuen zeit und als lust an der unlust. wälle von geräuschen des überbaus kreuzen einen hämmernden basisbeat, dialektik hätte man das früher genannt, aber diese platte ist zum glück über solche kindereien hinaus und zelebriert lediglich sich selbst - bezugslos, kalt, gradlinig, eindeutig, direkt, unmißverständlich, hemmungs- und schonungslos. die musik wird in ihre elementaren strukturen zerlegt, füllendes beiwerk ist abgelegt, es gibt keine transzendenz mehr - das hier und jetzt, die blanke gegenwart läßt keinen raum mehr. eine gigantische scheibe wie eine unsichtbare wand aus einem elektrischen feld. (2xr)

d2000 vol. 28/29

der südwesten von wales. die größte stadt ammanfeld hat 20000 einwohner. jeder scheint jeden zu kennen. doch in irgendeinem keller kratzen, brummen, knattern, wummern, quietschen und knallen brutale sounds gegen wände. bleche scheinen in irrem tempo aufeinander geschlagen zu werden, kreissägen wollen superharten stahl zerteilen. schweißerblitze zucken, irgendwo entweicht preßluft mit einem regelmäßig nervenzermürbenden zischen. hier werden träume zerstanzt und manien kultiviert. welcome to the machine! wer hat gesagt, daß das leben fair sein soll? - die somatic responses geben dem industriell gefertigten aggressionstrieb eine chance. keine zeit für sentimentale illusionen. (gk)

kroniks http://www.hardcore-concept.com/zine/html/kroniks/sept2000.htm#circum

cet album est un recueil macabre de pièces électro-industrielles. il s'ouvre comme un grimoire ancestral : avec respect et crainte. si vous êtes fan de hardcore cérébral, vous connaissez forcement ce duo gallois qui, depuis huit ans, inonde les meilleurs labels de leurs attaques indus-hardcore bruitistes. dark l.s.d, axon... des morceaux inoubliables qui ont jeté une atmosphère glaciale dans bien des teufs... eh bah là, le son " somatic " a encore mûri et évoque désormais la rencontre entre aphex twin et laurent hô. rien de moins. alternant calme et chaos, les deux frères manipulent les sonorités les plus extrêmes sans négliger la mélodie, qui prend ici la forme de magnifiques nappes d'une tristesse insondable. sinistre et grandiose.

@resistant media

somatic responses, duo anglais issu d'une communauté miniere du sud de wales, compte actuellement parmi les chefs de file de l'underground breakbeat industriel. apres plus d'une vingtaine de productions sur les labels-phare du genre (praxis, agent orange, sixshooter), leur nouveau cd circumflex fait le point sur leur parcours musical et démontre une fois de plus leur indéniable talent en matiere de mutilation sonore. désorientation, répétition, paranoia - tels sont les mots d'ordre qui régissent les 12 compositions de cet album, assemblage monstrueux de rythmiques breakbeat/jungle mutantes et de nappes de synthés maladives qui semblent échappées de la bande-son d'un thriller cyberpunk. si autechre représente la version psychotrope d'une partie de tétris sur game-boy, somatic responses fournissent l'équivalent musical d'une finale de doom en réseau neuro-matriciel. en effet, personne n'a jamais aussi bien rendu cette impression de tourner en rond dans un labyrinthe de béton virtuel, coincé a jamais dans un foutu stage intermédiaire, pret a se faire charcuter d'une seconde a l'autre par une horde de cyborgs insectoides... (xph)

seven http://www.nezzwerk.com/seven

i have been listening to this somatic responses release for almost a month now, and i keep coming back to it again and again after every few days. every single time i find something that grabs my attention and i never seem to grow tired of this album. in retrospect, looking over a vast number of somatics material we accumulated at "seven" in past few years, it appears to me that with each hymen release somatics assembles the "best of" for the past year. with all countless releases almost every month, the band is experimenting with different sounds and tracks, and then those ideas, polished, refined, transformed, and composed together are presented on a full-length release that seems to be spanning several shorter records. both circumflex and augmented lines are "complete" releases, not only because of the amount of material presented, but also because they stand on their own as a solid body of work. it would be wrong to compare "circumflex" and "augmented lines." i cannot really say which one is better, since i like both albums for many different things. "circumflex" was always dear to me for the combination of aggression and heaviness shaped in the form of dark unusual techstep and alien synthlines. with "augmented lines" it took me some time to fully get into the rich and complex world filled with layers and layers of percussion that leaves techstep far behind and spans genres like idm, rhythm&noise, drum&bass, etc. the result is simply unbelievable, and it is almost impossible to describe the multitude of emotions and sounds of this album in a short review. just to mention a few things, i can see ant-zen influence rubbing off. for those of you anticipating somatics/celluloid mata split, you will be pleased to discover some of the raw percussion of the latter that found its way into this album. and even overall the sound of the album is a lot noisier, and colder; even more "industrial" than anything you have heard from the duo before. on the other side, you will hear many intricate percussion layers weaving into the music, sparkling with disjointed, cut-up swirling beat textures, dazzling with their complexity. this is not your usual idm, it has been enhanced by the atmosphere (if not necessarily the sound) of heavy, broken techstep and twisted corroded drum&bass, and something else that is definitely somatics, not coming from any of the genres i know.
strings and softer atonal keys became more integral part of the music. the band is no longer playing on simple contrast of broken heavy percussion and distant strings - this time around it is a lot more complex and better orchestrated combination that goes beyond conventional idm or moody techstep.
at times the band enchants you with rolling intricate layers of percussion and gentle keys ("perfumed ammo") the next moment it comes down hard and crashes into the ground with pummeling rhythmic assault backed by corroded cold atmosphere and controlled feedback ("critical path"). the way all those different styles and atmospheres are perfectly combined on this record is simply stunning.
what amazes me, is how much material the brothers accumulated for this album, and how perfectly it all fits together. while hymen is probably one of the best labels in terms of releasing top-quality technoid material, this is probably the single largest and most impressive album (counting both the cd and the vinyl) the label released up to date. i have no doubt that "augmented lines" will become one of the milestones of the genre, and one of the most recognized and highly respected hymen releases.

surface www.surfacemagazin.de

also diese scheibe hat es wirklich in sich, den somatic response bieten einen industrial/noise, der "bei geht", also so richtig. unendlich verschachtelte rhythmusteppiche und dazwischen immer wieder düstere stringteppiche und melodien. somatic response schaffen es mit leichtigkeit die industrielle härte mit einer wirklich düsteren athmosphöäre zu versetzen, daß einem angst und bange wird. eigentlich ist dieses genre meißt eine nummer stressiger, auch für mich, aber hier kommt wieder so ein act, der eine gute scheibe hinlegt, die man wohl kaum mal im club hören wird. somatic response sind john und paul healy, die aus einer gegend im südwesten wales beheimatet sind und in anscheinend inspiriert das dortige klima zu solchen ausflügen in die endzeit....

 


somatic webpage


other releases of somatic responses on hymen:
¥018 somatic responses . revula 12" . september 1999

 

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