Recorded Spring 2007, Preston, UK
Somatic is a mixture of sounds sourced from field recordings that were taken mostly in Spain and Turkey, Cello, Voice, other instruments and various manipulated objects; for example a large sheet of plastic glass. The resulting drones and textures are fused together to try and create an effective mix of abstracted phonography and more melodic instrumental movements.
Somatic means “of, relating to, or affecting the body; corporeal or physical”. I felt this title particularly suited the work due to its more tangible, telluric, or earthly quality. Recent releases such as ‘chroma’, have looked upwards and beyond the confines of our normal horizons, whereas Somatic mirrors and reinterprets more conventional surroundings.
Early working titles were based around the idea of being “without eyes” or “without image” and this original concept was carried through with the sleeve design. The focus is on the act of listening away from additional stimuli, leaving the listener to create their own unique interpretations. (Paul Bradley)
This is one of those sonic sculptors whom I’ve always felt as totally honest even if he moves in a musical jungle where getting trapped by the quicksand of banality is fairly easy. To have an idea of Paul’s efforts to avoid such deplorable methods (which usually go “buy me the latest synthesizer, change a wave shape in the 01 preset, supplement with heavy reverberation, burn 100 CDRs and sell them”), just think that I realized about the exclusive use of guitars in (several of his) records only after the man himself told me. They were more or less unidentifiable to my ears, the ones of a guitarist…That should tell a lot (OK, who whispered “about you”?). In recent times, Bradley has added field recordings and different sources to the music yet the beauty of these presentations remains intact, “Somatic” fully reinforcing the theory. The basis for this long track, roughly divided into three movements, are environmental elements from Spain and Turkey, voice, other instruments and various manipulated objects. Bradley processed the main origins fusing the results in his customary brew of resonant drones and entrancing aural depictions, this time reinforced and complemented by those “extraneous” interferences from the real life that do nothing but add a touch of vividness to an already beguiling soundscape. Particular relevance must be attributed to the third and final section where, from a mournful female chant, a transcendent state of stupor based on a harmonically suspended chord takes shape to wrap our crumbling security in the cocoon of an apparent comfortableness, which fizzles out as soon as the record’s over. One of the very best releases in this English artist’s prolific career. (Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes)
After playing music all day, at night I want to sleep and I don’t need music while I’m asleep. I am not sure if Paul Bradley’s ‘Somatic’ release is intended for use while awake or asleep. But safe to say I heard it when I was firmly awake (well, I think). Maybe it refers to the point of day when it was recorded, or it uses field recordings taped at night? We are not told. Bradley is one of the drone masters from the UK, with a long line of releases behind his name, mainly on his own Twenty Hertz label, but also on Mystery Sea and Alluvial. I think he’s well aware of the traps of drone music and that he’s not so keen on producing works that may sound too similar. Thumbs up for that. The backbone of this piece is of course the mighty drone, organ like (but apparently cello, voice and objects are used), fed to a resonator or two, to get a variety of pitches. On top there is some sort of rain fall sounds, which are very much on top of things, giving a nice crackling sound, which is what breaks this away from the normal drone routine. The other, if partly only, difference is that Bradley works through three distinctly different passages. It makes a great release. Changes or progression in drone might not be easy, but it’s possible. (Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)
Encore du drone, mais pas que. Et encore une critique de Frans de Waard infiniment plus pertinente que tout ce que je pourrais ajouter (enfer, j’arrive encore après la bataille). Très beau disque, encore.
(Zut, avec tous ces ‘encore’ on dirait du Francis Cabrel…)