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Beat By Number

The New Body

Like a couple of other electronic artists of the 90's, the man behind Somatic (Hahn Rowe) was a member of an obscure 80's band before trying his hand at the funky beats and squiggling sounds of todays scene. With the album New Body, Rowe has composed an interesting listen that mainly falls into a drum and bass category alongside genre-steppers like Hive's Devious Methods, while injecting things with a bit of speed garage and some more traditions instruments like saxophone and ethnic sounding drums.

The disc starts out with the breakbeats and rumbling low-end bass of "Raw Dog." On top of everything, a twangy guitar number plays out and the sound of a ever-connecting modem can be heard. Although it runs a little bit long, the second track "Venusian Jazz" works a little better in that it juxtaposes the standard smooth rolling jazzy drum and bass with some haunting noises and a thick bass bounce that moves along in the background. "Knuckles" is a little more on the abrasive side with its harsh beats and bursts of noise while "Space Jelly" again takes on a more future funk sound with a wah-wah bass lick and some layered horns. And so it goes for nearly the rest of the album. The songs are well constructed and there are some interesting things going on, but after everything is said and done, most of the tracks simply end up blurring into one another.

Overall, one of the main problems with the disc lies in the fact that the disc runs well over 60 minutes over the course of only nine songs. While it may work for some artists to have longer such songs, most of the songs on The New Body simply don't change up enough in their 6 to 7 minute spans to keep them engaging. There are catchy parts, for sure, but overall the disc just doesn't grab as well as it would if brevity would have been paid a little more attention to.

Rating: 4.5