Gary Beck – “Upside Criminal” (Mutual Rytm) [May 3, 2024]

It’s no secret that Glaswegian Gary Beck knows his way around a studio—there’s a real talent for the music that will let you know he can produce any sort of Techno or genre you’re likely to think of. In the past, it seems he’s been doing a lot of Progressive, or mainstage Techno, but judging by his top tens and top-selling releases, his audience prefers the proper, stripped-down, loop-based, sound. 

Indeed, the vinyl on this release is already sold out at Bandcamp. Whether it’s that his audiences have matured or this is where his heart shines, it’s hard to say. What’s for sure is that the tracks on this “Upside Criminal” EP are well within the Mutual Rytm aesthetic but also highlight a producer who makes driving hypnotic Techno as easily as the wind moves through the trees.

The truly astonishing track on the release is “Rejected”, which does your head in with the lead sample swirling around your head. It fully pulls you out of your present state of mind and paves the way for the straight kick-and-hat pattern to be fully augmented right into your brain. The title track, “Sambana”, and “Pepper Track”, all use a groove timing convention in the kick and bass pattern that sets up a lot of expectation and release in subtle yet effective ways. 

This sets up a strong foundation for laying down strong headnotes and lead-up patterns that fully slam down the groove. Especially evident in “Upside Criminal,” the lead sample speeds up the tail of the pattern and throws down the groove in a very hard, funky manner. The track “Ghost” provides a really lovely, filtered string patch that provides a chilled feeling to the slamming groove underneath. The extended bass note provides a very nice focus for your ears to rest as it works against that carried synth line. Overall, just a very satisfying and comforting tune. “Variation 6.1” calls on the hypnotic technique from “Rejected” but keeps a lot of the effects pretty dry, choosing to make the focus on dynamics processing to keep your ears locked in and steady on all elements. This track is meant to be played very loudly.

Lovely slamming EP here. This feels like Gary Beck’s home, creatively speaking. We’re looking forward to more hard-slamming cuts and an evolution of his creatively expressive voice as an artist in the near future. Great for Mutual Rytm to feature it and keep music like this at the forefront.

-Sean Ocean

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