Way back when in 2008, none other than Richie Hawtin pegged Glaswegian DJ and producer Gary Beck, along with 16 other DJ’s and producers, to go on to do big things. I can’t comment on the other 16, but unsurprisingly Richie Hawtin was spot on with his prediction about Beck. By this point in his career he stands out as one of British techno’s finest exports, through his expertly crafted productions he’s managed to carve out a space for himself as someone with a unique and extremely desirable sound. His latest EP is his first solo release in over a year and it shows that far from plateauing, he’s still working as hard as ever to churn out on point releases.
Beck has been producing at a prolific rate since 2004 and in that time he’s shown himself at being adept at throwing out tracks across the spectrum. From upbeat techno grooves to 5am warehouse grinders, he really can do it all. As a solo producer his 2009 album ‘Tijuana’ was a microcosm of the breadth of his production ability. The lead track ‘Tijuana‘ has Afro influences and a lot of groove whereas ‘Semillon‘ is far heavier and more introspective, but as with any of Beck’s tracks still extremely listenable. In 2012 he released his first full length LP ‘Bring a Friend’ which he dropped again on the Soma Records label. From the dark and broody lead track ‘Bring a Friend‘ to the charming ambient experiment ‘Little Moon‘, the whole album is littered with gems from start to finish, with ‘Before the Crash’ checking in as a real winner.
Last year Beck dropped a 4 track EP ‘Pure Cane Sugar’ on his own BEK Audio label, the label he has given much of his focus to in recent years and with these releases comes a small but very noticeable difference: ‘Pure Cane Sugar’ finally reaches an almost flawless level of professionalism.
The whole EP is a testament to Beck’s range as a producer, from the melancholic and druggy ‘Gold Badge‘ to the funkier house track ‘Pure Cane Sugar’ and then right back to the dancefloor killers ‘Blotch‘ and ‘Hold Up‘, Beck once again shows that he can do a little bit of everything. In the past it felt as if Beck was trying to prove a point, as if he was throwing out tracks that sounded a little different simply to show he could but with ‘Pure Cane Sugar’ everything feels natural, he’s producing with variety simply because this is what he does.
This near-flawless level of professionalism carries over to his latest release ‘Hentzi’, which has been one of my favourite Beck productions to date and honestly the whole EP warrants several playbacks. Narrowing it down to one track was extremely difficult, especially with the dancefloor ready ‘Leo‘ lurking in the midst but the real standout of this EP has to be the lead track ‘Hentzi’. This is hard, rave inspired techno that absolutely bangs and yet Beck manages to make it listenable. Whilst it won’t appeal to everyone, the sheer brute force of the bassline is unquestionable. If I have one criticism of Beck’s new album it would be that whilst each track is masterfully constructed, he really isn’t pushing any boundaries with this release.
Perhaps though, we ask too much from those who stand at the forefront of their respected scenes, maybe we should sit back and enjoy the quality productions they mange to throw out on such a regular basis, in any case that hi-hat absolutely kills.