Somatic Responses – B01tr2 [Explorations]
HC Records is expanding its horizons with a new parallel yet ambitious project. In an effort to broaden its recording legacy from an evolutionary perspective, the Valencian label is venturing into the field of experimental sound. This new direction signifies a rejuvenation and adaptation to a new era, where music fragments and expands towards infinite horizons. Complex compositions, abstract designs, and extreme sound treatments define this innovative approach, pushing music beyond its limits and sacrificing some of its essential properties in the process.
“Explorations” is HC Records’ new label dedicated to the vast world of experimental electronic music. However, this doesn’t mean that the label is entering unfamiliar territory, as its catalogue already includes several forays into this sonic context. In this first episode of “Explorations,” the British duo Somatic Responses returns once again, offering a work that showcases a complete departure from their previous release, the “Interlinked EP,” which came out on HC Records in 2020.
Volatile Landscape opens with MsampCO2, a clue that already indicates the two main qualities of this album, as on one hand, it is worth highlighting its polyrhythmic aspect, and on the other hand, the delicacy of its harmonic arguments. In MsampCO2 both concepts are perfectly combined, the rhythmic and harmonic simplicity of the first bars are progressively nourished by new elements, until they manage to transform an arid atmosphere into an exuberant landscape full of resources. With ambt_0SEC one can appreciate from the first sound pulse that there is a solid relationship between a countless number of tonalities, synthetic chords created from the introspection and sensitivity of the artist. Poppet takes a similar path to the track that precedes it in terms of its fragile and emotional character and the absence of rhythmic elements, however, the synthetic delicacy of the pads supports the subtle percussive notes of the piano.
Of Getting There, the first cut on side B, it is worth highlighting its development, given that if we stick to the first bars, the feeling generated by the faint rhythmic beat and the discreet string impulses is one of unease, although this perception changes completely with the tonal modulation and the incorporation of a totally angelic pad. Unlike Getting There, QuikOp6Pie does manage to project a visceral expression that lingers throughout the track, as its acoustic properties are synthetic and the harmonic construction emanates from the abyss. Awkward Sunset is a short reflection on everything that starts badly, as it can surely get worse, in this case we transfer it to a corrosive scenario, which gradually degrades from chords that give way to the invasion of other elements.
Neurographic Network combines attributes of downtempo, IDM and ambient, slow-paced electronica, nourished by both the brighting condition of the percussive ingredients and a series of interwoven melodies. B01tr2 highlights the narcotic and mental effect of the music, as it is practically impossible to assimilate everything that our ears collect with one or several listens of this track, from impossible rhythms to countless sound insertions or drastic changes of scenery, to which we must add an elaborate and ambitious panning. Morphism closes the first side of the second disc with a collection of drones and incessant explorations in an unstable, fragile and inhospitable terrain, and although visually it can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways, we like to see it as a volcanic landscape in which numerous gaseous fountains emanate.
Sensory Deception opens side D with an expansive and constant rhythmic sense, however, at this point in the album it is clear that Somatic Responses’ obsession with multiple transitions determines the development of all their tracks, and what at first may generate the idea that it is a linear work, in a few minutes everything changes, from the absence of rhythm to the total modification of the sound patterns. Volatile Landscape, the track that gives its name to the release, is a short fragment that visualises again a futuristic sci-fi oriented scenario. Event Horizon is a distribution of driven notes over an imposing canvas of chords that induce serenity and inner peace. Ymd21th10 closes the album with a simple harmonic environment and a soft and gentle rhythm that gradually modifies its structure until it decomposes completely.
Release date; July 7th, 2023.