Various 20 Years

Various 20 Years
Twenty years of forward-thinking music from a single label is an extremely rare and commendable phenomenon. Glasgow's Soma Records commemorates this impressive feat with the aptly titled 20 Years. The first disc, "The Classics," is 11 tracks of nostalgic bliss that brings any techno-lover back to the early days of sonic exploration, when dance music began to move away from the popular squelches of TB-303s. Slam (whose presence is the heaviest on 20 Years) cements their stature as Soma's cornerstone artist, audible via the arpeggiated grooves of "Azure (Part 1)" and their first-ever track for the label, "Eterna," a staple in any historical electronic music collection and the pinnacle of the Glasgow sound in the early '90s. Daft Punk's remix of Scott Grooves' "Mothership Reconnection" references the early "Da Funk" days of the French duo, who would later go on to conquer the world. The Black Dog's "Cost II" ― a very technical work that combines atmospherics in the style of early Aphex Twin with vocal sampling patterns similar to that of Slam ― exhibit melodic sensibilities from their earliest days. 20 Years is more of a history book than an album and what it lacks in fluidity and cohesiveness it makes up for in timelessness and romantic throwbacks to the pre-Macbook DJ days. Here's to another 20 years. (Soma)