The brainchild of Glaswegian producer and DJ Gary Beck, BEK Audio was established in 2009 as an outlet for his own music, but has since branched out as a platform for a wider range of artists. Industry heavyweights such as such as Speedy J, Mr. G, and Mark Broom are just some that have made contributions over the years. Key releases including Beck’s own “Barefoot Sunday” (featuring a riveting remix by Floorplan) and Ritzi Lee’s hard hitting Intrusive EP, both from 2016, through to Slam’s impressive Harem EP and “She’s Fine” by Chicago legend DJ Rush in 2013 are still typical of the label’s sound. New material from ascendant names artists such as Sosak, Fred Asquith and Antony Dupont maintain its reputation.
Review: With releases on labels like Animal Farm and Dead Cert among his catalogue and support from well-known DJs like
Richie Hawtin, Charlotte de Witte and Ben Sims, it's no surprise that William Arist is a respected techno producer. This new EP for Bek Audio demonstrates why he's held in such high regard. "B-One" revolves around a lean rhythm and dramatic chord sweeps, like an updated take on Secret Cinema's 90s techno sound. In contrast, "Excesivoc" is a rolling tribal track, based on dense drums and steely percussive elements. Bek Audio boss Gary Beck completes the package, with a tough, pounding take on "B-One".
Review: Gary Beck can always be relied on to deliver impactful techno and Cheeky Lemon is no exception: on the title track, it sees the Bek Audio boss drop a driving, linear rhythm that's powered by a pulsating, bubbling bass. The release also contains a number of great remixes; the Petter B Grouse edit turns the original into a tougher analogue affair, full of grating riffs, while at the other end of the sound spectrum, there's eerie sound scapes and neo-classical strings of the Zest reshape. Beck has also tapped Par Grindvik to remix "Lemon", and he turns it into a heads-down affair, powered by smart filters and spiky percussion.
Review: Antony Dupont traces his roots back to the 90s as a techno DJ at raves in his native France, and the musical influences from this period are audible on Back In Da Dayz. The title track is a gritty stomper, powered by stomping kicks and featuring a wall of filtered, steely percussion. The overall result is techno that exudes raw energy. Label boss Gary Beck delivers the remix; raising the tempo and putting a focus on heavy kicks, the prolific producer peppers the arrangement with waves of scatter gun percussion that elevate the track to Beck's usual peak-time intensity levels.
Review: Gary Beck returns to Bek Audio after it celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019. The title track finds the label owner in more contemplative mood than usual, delivering a pulsating, hypnotic groove, while on "Spider", he ups the pace but delivers a similarly constructed track."Belly Dance" is more typical of Beck's trademark sound and sees dense drums provide the basis for repetitive stabs, while "Morticians Rave" is a jittery rhythm track. For the most part however, this release is deeper than usual and on "Isolated Cabin", he combines atmospheric synths with his signature rolling drums to craft a deep but effective floor filler.
Review: Next up on Gary Bek's label is a feel-good release from Alexandre Gomez. "Keep On Dancing" is based on a robust, rolling groove and vocal-tinged disco samples. Thanks to Mark Broom's mixdown work, it sounds like a tighter, tougher take on late 90s filtered disco house. On "Who Talk About", Gomez opts for a heavier sound. The rhythm is more slamming and the stabs are relentless: the overall effect is that it sounds like Joey Beltram mixed with Thomas Bangalter's Trax on Da Rocks classic. It's an interesting departure for Bek Audio and is sure to appeal to a wider audience.
Review: Few contemporary techno producers do crafty, functional tracks as well as Gary Beck - and this quality is audible from the outset on Cycle Series. It opens with the slinky, streamlined "Crocodile Fears", which is littered with looped samples and powerful claps, while the title track sees Beck use a visceral, meaty bass to underpin a rolling electronic rhythm. Once again, the use of effective steely percussion shines through. Beck deploys a similar approach on "My Fake Candles", although on this occasion a dense low end underpins spooky synths. On "Arden Rocket", Beck goes back to basics for a drum-heavy percussive workout that has echoes of 90s Marco Carola.
Review: Ryan McKay follows up last year's Illusions release on Bek Audio with this ferocious affair. The title track is based on brutal, visceral kicks, whip lash percussion and a chilling, haunting synth line that is intertwined with a menacing vocal sample. "Be Free" is in a similar vein; its pounding rhythm has echoes of Chicago producers like Steve Poindexter and Mike Dunn, while the disturbed, wailing vocal only adds to the sense of urgent drama. Final track "Drumworks" is even tougher, with pounding drums and waves of steely percussion powered on by momentous snare rolls and blasts of white noise. It's one of the most effective techno releases of 2019.
Review: The Bek Audio anniversary celebrations continue apace with this fine second volume. First up is PTTRN with the percussive, drum-heavy "180621 S61.1", which is every bit as purist as its title suggests. Label owner Gary Beck takes the tempo up a notch with the rolling groove and snappy percussion of "Disgraced Loon" - but smart vocal snatches and chord stabs ensure that it doesn't veer into banging sameness. Petter B's "Second Day" approaches intensity from a different angle, thanks to the use of shimmering woozy chords, while on "Patterns", a collaboration between Beck and Alan Fitzpatrick, melodies also make an appearance - although on this occasion they flit in and out of the duo's steely drums and crisp percussion.
Review: It's hard to believe that Gary Beck's techno has been around for a decade, and helping him to blow out the candles is a star-studded line up. First up is Chicago legend DJ Rush collaborating with the label owner to deliver the stomping ghetto techno of "Talkers". Sunčica Bari?ić aka Insolate delivers a more European-focused sound on the atmospheric, tone-laden "He Said, She Said". Changing focus again, Slam's version of JX-216's "Xingu" is a visceral peak-time affair that resounds to discordant riffs, while on Mark Broom's "Red Line", an insistent organ and firing percussion, similar to Floorplan's style, is audible. Hopefully it's the first of many birthday celebrations.
Review: Gary Beck goes down a somewhat different direction than usual with his latest release on Bek Audio. The title track features distorted kicks and a pulsating rhythm providing the basis for a tripped out female vocal. It sounds similar to the type of music that I Hate Models is putting out. On "Potion Fear", the label owner delivers a more abrasive track: based on a driving, steely rhythm, its booming kicks and harsh percussion see Beck inhabiting the same space as Perc. Changing tact once again, "Arahask" is a dubbed out club track that will appeal to fans of Klockworks and Figure.
Review: Gary Beck's first album in six years starts in dramatic fashion with the militaristic drums and the eerie synths of "Fools Regime" and the quality levels don't drop for the remainder of the release. Although best known for no nonsense, big room techno, this album contains many surprises: "Isle" is a shimmering deep house track featuring plucked strings, on "Return A590", he experiments with detuned synths and an electro bass to create a mutant disco track and "Absolute Gem" is a gorgeous, lush ambient piece. This being Beck there is no shortage of tough techno, including the pounding drums of the title track, but it's his unexpected forays and experiments that impress the most.
Review: Sounding like a drone from an unreleased Star Wars movie is JX-216, a new artist to appear on Gary Beck's label. "Xingu" is a full-on affair, a rugged, stomping techno workout, led by stinging riffs that sound like laser guns ricocheting off objects in the middle of an asteroid field. On "Flux", there is a similar, hard-edged approach. This time, the mysterious new artist deploys the kind of powerful bass that could level solar systems. Coupled with gated filters and steady, stomping kicks, it's a massively powerful track, and will appeal to fans of Luke Slater's Planetary Assault Systems project.
Review: Techno must be in the McKay blood. Ryan, who has put out a few EPs on Drumccode, is the brother of the prolific producer Harvey McKay, known for his work on Cocoon, Soma and Relief. Based on "Illusions", he may now face some competition from his sibling. "Deception" is a firing percussive affair, underpinned by tough kicks and featuring wild riffs, while "Wound Kisser" sees Ryan opt for a slightly less abrasive approach thanks to its dreamy synths - even though in turn they are supported by a rough, pulsating groove. It's only a minor diversion though and "Deception Drum Tool" is an abrasive slice of peak time techno, bettered only by the title track's pounding kicks and freaky vocal samples.
Make Me (Mella Dee Raw Traxx Mixx) - (5:13) 132 BPM
Review: Mark Broom is the UK's official tech-house don, and has been for nearly two decades. The amount of music this dude has put out never ceases to amaze us, especially for its continuity and inarguable smoothness. He's up on Gary Bek's Bek Audio, reigning down on us with an absolute blinder in "Make Me", dominating the EP with a fat, fully-locked groove driven by sensational disco vocals. "Fun 18 Mix" feels like 90s era Versatile, or the sort of tune that Gemini would have played, all blasting horns and heavy kicks, while the Mella Dee remix of "Make Me" proceeds to inject the original with yet more percussion, yet more groove and, of course, Dee's natural rawness.
Review: Gary Beck kick starts the Bek Audio account for 2018 with this barnstorming release. The title track is a raucous affair that sees an off beat rhythm track provide the backdrop for a pulsating bass, looped vocal samples and ferocious percussive volleys. When the snare rolls kick in after the break down, it's not hard to imagine the kind of carnage that "Pneuma" will cause. On "NTX", the Scottish producer plays a straighter hand. The groove is linear and steely, with some vocal snatches, but still as effective as "Pneuma". "Synthen" sees Bek deliver a tough tribal workout, featuring by filtered crescendo, while Beck provides a more house-based approach on the rolling "Back Jabba".
Review: When it comes to no-nonsense, heads-down techno, few labels can match Bek Audio. While it has released material by Chicago legends DJ Rush and Lester Fitzpatrick, as well as Mark Broom and Slam, for its 30th release its owner, Gary Beck is back in the saddle. The title track is an unstoppable juggernaut that comprises a driving funk-bass, disco loops and sassy vocal samples. "Shadow Bounce" is more typical Beck, with a hammering central rhythm undercutting a noisy riff and a choppy vocal stab. "Bicycle Wheel" sees the Scottish producer deliver a lighter, party techno looper, while expect the catchy vocals and loopy funk of "Fantasy Stomp" to compete with "Famoo Funk" for attention.
Review: If you were expecting some light-hearted music to provide a soundtrack to the day of rest, then you may be somewhat disappointed by Barefoot Sunday. If, on the other hand, you crave big room techno with a rare modicum of finesse and rawness in equal measures, then this title track is highly recommended. Beck delivers a driving, jacking tune, replete with playful, primal ghetto house influences. The Scottish producer has also secured a major coup by getting Robert Hood on board as a remixer under his Floorplan alias. Deranged horns and the original version's teasing vocal are fused over pile-driving claps to create an unforgettable Sabbath celebration.
Review: It's a case of the old and the new getting together and getting down for the latest instalment on Bek Audio. Fitzpatrick is a Chicago veteran, who put out his hard, analogue techno for labels like Relief back in the day (this writer's personal favourite is Tone Control). Beck on the other hand, represents the new wave of modern, big room techno. "BS" came out last year and on this version, Beck provides two mighty reshapes. The first take is a tunnelling, rolling groove, powered by murderous kicks and featuring a wailing diva telling the listener 'you're alright'. Beck's 'Apparatus' version meanwhile, is more contemporary-sounding; the drums roll incessantly and provide a basis for the Scottish producer to layer waves of pile-driving percussion over them.
Review: About six years ago a young lad from Glasgow named Gary Beck burst to the scene, seemingly out of nowhere with his brand of atmospheric yet powerful style of techno. His star has continued to rise and it's his own Bek Audio label that these days sees him continue on with his steady rate of quality releases. The Scarlett EP features the pulsating and slow burning epic that is the title track, the pounding and doom laden groove of "Gaada Stack" which you could imagine tearing through the speakers at somewhere like Berghain. Finally things get a bit funkier in the rhythm's groove on "Hot Packing Slip" backed by droning and atmospheric pads.
Review: The Scottish producer is at the helm for the latest release on his own label and it's no surprise that it's a dance-floor primed affair. Learning the charge is the title track, larger than life pulsing techno groove somewhere between the sexual swing of Giorgio Moroder and the distorted stomp of early Luke Slater. "Wren" is perhaps more typical of the Beck sound, with its dark, bubbling pulses underscoring dramatic synth builds. "Leo" follows in a similar vein only on that occasion, the drums are harder and heavier, as Beck fuses them with a snaking groove. Finally, there's "Karman"; led by robust kicks and featuring a series of deep break downs, it brings to a close an EP that started in truly dramatic fashion.
Review: Gary Beck continues the fine Glasgow techno tradition pioneered by Rubadub and Slam on "Backward", the opening track on this split release. Tribal drums cascade over a rolling rhythm and in the middle of it all, a vocal sample morphs into a hypnotic Afro chant. "Data Flux", Beck's collaboration with techno veteran Mark Broom, is just as rewarding, only on this occasion, the kicks are tougher and more distorted. Bek 022 also gives a platform to new artists - with Hans Bouffmyhre & Kyle Geiger's "Inwards" delivering a flurry of tough kicks and ear-shredding sirens - and to seasoned artists the Space DJz, whose raucous "Double Zero" brings a distorted drum-led end to the release.
Review: Those who had Gary Beck down as a big room-minimal artist will probably get a shock when they hear Rascal. The title track is a slamming rhythmic affair, pounding and streamlined but also welling up to take in a series of churning chord sequences. It's a reminder that Beck is a diverse artist, something that becomes more apparent on "Video Siren"; there, a driving rhythm and stomping beats underpin a pitched down vocal loop that intones the track title, getting more and more hypnotic as it progresses. It's a million miles away from the fx-laden white noise bombast of big room mnml.