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Somatic Responses – Volatile Landscape

by François Zappa

The Welsh duo Somatic Responses continues as prolific as ever and, among the various albums they released last year, we want to highlight Volatile Landscape, which is the first on the new HC Records sublabel, Explorations. It includes thirteen experimental tracks from the two brothers that move between drone, ambient and IDM.

Somatic Responses was one of the main exponents of the best Rhythmic Noise and one of the most important bands that recorded for the Hymen label where, from the mid-nineties, they released a multitude of albums. Although in El Garaje we know them for that facet, the Healy brothers have also been linked to the breakcore and IDM scene and released material of both styles. As is normal for two such prolific musicians, in 2010 they created their label Photon Emissions where their digital material has seen the light of day. With the label HC Records they have a friendship, as they released their Interlinked EP and a usb key with several tracks. Now we have them debuting on the new sublabel and for sure we will have more news from them soo

On side A we have the most ambient tracks: “MsamopCO2” with changing IDM rhythms and keyboards that seem to emerge from the bottom of the sea, “ambt’0Sec” is just celestial electronica and “Poppet” is a track in which they show how to play the keyboards with finesse on a floating background. More abstract and mysterious is “Getting There” which occupies almost the entire side B with its ten and a half minutes. We find metallic and industrial sounds in “QuikOp6Pie”, like some Confield-era Autechre but more ambient. “Awkward Sunset” is a short track with the strange melancholy of Boards of Canada.

The third side opens with “Neurographic Network” and features a more playful IDM. “B01tr2” follows the tone, with nice keyboards, sci-fi sounds and WARP-esque accelerated rhythms. “Morphism” is more experimental with nice melody and chaotic screeching sounds. The last side has four tracks, the most experimental ones: “Sensory Deception” with powerful percussion and an ambient part. “Volatile Landscape” is a strange track, with insistent keyboard and background noises and radio sounds, like interferences. “Event Horizon” starts more ambient, without percussion, and it’s disturbing and beautiful at the same time. The album ends with the aquatic and also disturbing “Ymd21th10”.


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