Sonder Somatic

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In a year full of stand-out techno albums, a concept generally considered hard to pull off, Bruce may be the only one to combine exploration and playfulness without sacrificing the urge to dance. Upon flicking through the track list it might appear that Sonder Somatic is a confusing mess, but hearing the odd gait of every track unfold, there's an uncanny gracefulness to the album. It also does a fantastic job of pulling together the disparate threads that have defined dance music in Bristol over the last ten years; as such, it fittingly found a home on Hessle Audio, which has been morphing alongside the change from off-kilter dubstep to off-kilter techno along with the times. Bruce clearly absorbed these changes at the same time as he developed his production skills, as opening track "Elo" begins in an almost jovial manner before knuckling down to the sparseness of "Cacao" and "Ore." Not only do the BPMs change drastically from track to track but so does the tone: take the contrast between the spacy, drawn-out "Torn" and the rush-inducing "What," which in no way feels jarring; in fact, it's par for the course throughout the record. Sonder Somatic exists in multiple spaces simultaneously, it's club music that could be played on a Sunday afternoon and it's headphone music that transports the mind directly back to the club, the numerous locations where it would be appropriate is testament to the elastic creativity of Bruce. Above all it engages the mind and body without a pretentious barrier to entry, and for that it should be applauded.

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