Mastered at Glowcast by Conor Dalton
Soma’s 100th album release is a huge milestone for the label and reiterates how influential the Glasgow brand has been in defining the musical landscape for two decades.
There is no better way to celebrate both the impact and influence of the label than by showcasing one of Glasgow’s most successful Techno exports. Gary Beck embodies the continued innovation of Soma, having worked in close collaboration with the label from his 2009 debut onwards. In the years since his first release Gary Beck has become a global Techno sensation performing at every major venue and starting his own successful label, Bek Audio, which has seen his tracks selling out at an incredible rate. This album highlights just why Gary Beck has reached such a pinnacle and again shows that his collaborations with Soma are always incendiary. Throughout the album every track is perfectly balanced and totally unique creating a sonic journey from the first bar to the last.
The epic scale of the album is reflected in the first track ‘I Read About You’ which seems to expand and develop constantly bringing in ambience, intricate drum patterns and ethereal synths which create a spiritual and expansive quality.
The opener is punctuated brilliantly by the sharp and deep style of Algoreal, which winds the tension up again and takes the music in another new direction.
Beck’s mastery of integrating various original musical themes is a signature of this record and the development of sounds is striking. A clear example of this is in how well spaced and electro elements are crafted on ‘D51’ to create an exciting sense of anticipation and a powerfully organic feel. This means that there is a chance to create tracks which feel like whole ensemble pieces rather than an exercise in strict, clinical production.
Throughout there is a strong sense of musicianship, but this is balanced well with the engrossing physicality of tracks. ‘Unaware’ for example has heavy bass, beats and all manner of carefully developed production elements which create an almost disorientating sense of power.
Certain tracks follow different musical routes and the scope of this is kept in check with regard to the whole album by tracks like ‘Hopkin’ which tie these different elements together as part of a complete work. The tracks have such varied rhythm patterns and production which are often understated but always effective.
Little moon is a perfect interlude with bright and beautiful sounds which although being the shortest track on the album creates its own detailed atmosphere and imagery, a transcendent moment on the album.
The progression of the Samba-influenced beats and resonant drums of ‘Operation’ is another great example of the strength and complexity of this album, creating a whole new soundscape and another avenue for exploration. This is a shattering end to the album and brings everything to a close in a fashion which is absolutely fitting for such a great album. Album number 100 is certainly worthy of its place in Soma history and the achievement in creating this piece of music matches the great achievements of Soma in getting to this landmark.
Released by: soma
Release/catalogue number: Soma CD100
Release date: Sep 24, 2012