Album Review: Gary Beck / ‘Bring a Friend’ (Soma)


Scotsman Gary Beck is entrusted with serving Soma’s 100th LP release, and his plus one invitation runs around trying to make sure everyone’s techno tastes are taken care off. Attaining mastery to everything he sculpts, Beck doesn’t forget to enjoy himself while looking out for his guests with absorbingly powerful epics on the brink of combustion, picturing the scene of partiers for as far as the eye can see bowing down before him.

You’re not left long to wonder if Beck will ever unleash his wrath. Though commanding early on, there’s only so long you can spectate with bated breath. “D51” is the first party-pooper, checking the pace to force the optimism to eat acid-spiked lead, backed up by “Skiver”, where the slower the beats, the harder they come. “Before the Crash” is a funky brute ploughing through, and Beck settles into a tough dictatorship for whom minimalism or the skeletal are ugly concepts (okay, there is “Hopkin”, but that’s where ugly is a compliment).

The beats are fleshy in their single-mindedness, and the often anxious atmosphere swirls and swoops very really before your ears, including some speculative downtime on “Little Moon” remaining ill at ease. For want of a less dated phrase, Beck is forever full on, blowing out Soma’s birthday candles to leave brains and bodies buckled.
File under: Ben Sims, Mark Broom, Speedy J