Compilation Review: ‘Soma Compilation 21 Mixed by Gary Beck’ (Soma)

Soma Compilation 21 mixed by Gary Beck


Sixty minutes to get down and boogie, tell others to get out the way, and to hold your head up high and see the light. Gary Beck on his debut mix mans the Soma express, heading into the next double decade with a recap of some of the Glasgow’s label’s ripest.

Easing into the mix with DeepChord’s dub-boiled bubbling, the tide begins to turn when Heiko Laux and Steve Rachmad’s “The Viking” tells you to snap out of whatever dancefloor daydream has come over you. With no time to waste, Beck always giving the turntables a firm push without being overzealous, a Claude Von Stroke mix of Scott Grooves’ “Mothership Connection” applies some staunch tech-house funkiness. Mark Henning gets greater groove going on immediately after, in time for the mix beginning a quick planetary orbit.

Pig&Dan and Mark Reeve restore a supply of techno that goes down a dark alley to fight its own fight. Having hardened the dancefloor and with tribal conditioning still to be inserted, Beck takes it upon himself to open the arena’s roof so radiance comes pouring in with “Algoreal,” without giving up on the stomp he’s paved, furthered by Funk D’void’s “Diabla” flourishing under the tutelage of Christian Smith and Wehbba, and taken to a serene conclusion by Ricardo Villalobos remixing Envoy. A sweepingly concise 21 gun Soma salute.

File under: Alex Under, Matthias Tanzmann, Oliver Deutschmann

Album Review: Alex Under / ‘La Máquina de Bolas’ (Soma)


An ambient album that’s essentially a dreamy essay about how to control a loop in the middle of the pleasure-pain theory, you can take Alex Under as a sedative or someone to whiten your knuckles by. Ten- and 11-minute passages from the Spaniard mean there’s a lot of time for thoughts to enter your head. If you turn it on and leave it humming in the background, that’s fine — therapeutic washing machines and faraway steam trains are comparable in sound if your mind is set to counting sheep by slow stewing house. If you’re an insomniac who can’t stand playing shepherd, you’ll be drawn in by the scrabbling, rhythmic raindrops and subtle insertion of tension. The cycling, sometimes tribal kaleidoscope, becomes undercut with blood reds and monochrome slashes, before morphing out with charming and carefree burbles and flickers to have you teetering on the edge of the bed. Atmosphere creeps up and cloaks you from faint composition gaining strands of strength (“Bola 4” records the sounds of wandering dead souls) and patient programming, which sounds an obvious component to press home, but shouldn’t be overlooked.

La Máquina de Bolas translates as “pinball machine.” Under isn’t interested in high scores and hitting flippers into a blur, but nonetheless chops and screws the LCD displays and sets the ball shooting down the runway in slow mesmeric motion.
File under: Dolly La Parton, Friendly People, Thomas Fehlmann