Album review: Soma Coma 6

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Soma Records

Genre - Downtempo electronica

Every year, I wait eagerly for this long-running compilation series to be released. The appeal for me is obvious… Take the finest selection of cutting-edge producers and swap their techno trainers for laidback loungers. However, don’t expect something fluffy or dated; the result is twelve tracks that play like a filmscore to a breath-taking sci-fi movie full of tension, drama and dark foreboding.

SC:6 is packed full of well thought-out remixes and exclusive tracks from the Soma vaults. A great deal of work has gone into creating a concept album that flows from track to track with Joe Starwarz, Alex Under and Nadja Lind supplying the introduction in three tracks. Each building on the last, they set the scene of a sprawling metropolis.

Starwarz - ‘Suite b’ is a deep dub-driven track with a melodic bass hook, broken up by the hypnotic reflection of echoing chords, painting the picture of a desolate underworld. Unders slo-mo Detroit techno gently pads through a barren industrial landscape drizzled in the warm wetness of environmental shift. While Lind’s Alpha Chicken dub takes the first steps towards human contact, her trip-hop rinsed beats are soaked in the smokey atmosphere of a busy market place.

Mihalis Safras’ remix of Deepcut starts where Lind left off, in a dirty, grease-coated spaceport. He captains a clunky shuttle, and blasts off for a tour of the sprawling mega city. Breaking through clouds wrapped around titanic super structures reaching far into space… where Onmutu Meckanicks introduces us to his eerie take of Slams tech thumper - ‘Dark Forces’. Imagine a team of explorers within the dead space of an abandoned space station - darkness envelopes the original melodies building tension in waves of imposing sound. The re-engineered version is far deeper and darker than the original but remains faithful to Stuart and Orde’s vision.

There’s no doubt SC: 6 is an exceptional album. There is strong communication between artists and exquisitely produced with expert direction from Soma HQ. Soma displays the kind of maturity and thoughtfulness which can only be gained from 14 years at the forefront of underground electronica - a heavy dose of genuine invention.

Soma celebrated 14 fantastic years on Friday @ Pressure in The Arches, with headline acts - Green Velvet and Maya Jane Coles.

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