CD, Hymen, 2008
“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