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soma 080211Happy birthday Soma. One of the most inspirational of all the independent electronic music labels, the Glasgow imprint celebrates two decades at the top with this enticing triple header of house and techno greatness. With a disc of 'Soma Classics' plus a mix each from label heads Slam and Silicone Soul, this is a release of the highest quality that does complete justice to their up tempo output, if not perhaps including as much of the slower, more ambient stuff. Techno is their roots, however, and Slam prove that with a storming mix that includes not just their own stuff but Tony Thomas, Funk D'Void and H-Foundation. Silicone Soul's house mix leans nearer to the Med, with a clever version from the Wighnomy Brothers of Slam's 'This World' following up the devastation of 'Positive Education', still the archetypal Soma track. Inevitably that appears on the classics, as does the warm rush of Funk D'Void's 'Diabla' and the majestic 'Cost II', one of The Black Dog's very finest moments. Perhaps wisely the Glaswegians opted not to include the rediscovered 1994 Daft Punk track 'Drive' on promo copies of this compilation, but that will be yet another big draw when the set is released. Though this set comes down heavily on the side of Soma's biggest club hits, perhaps at the expense of early pioneers such as Percy-X, all that means you need do is invest in that side of the catalogue as well. What it succeeds in doing is reminding us just how essential labels like Soma are to the continued health of electronic and dance music – and if they carry on doing what they've been doing for another 20 years then they'll be just fine.

5 out of 5

Reviewed By Ben Hogwood

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