It's not flashy. It's not fussy. Beck is clearly in command of his source material, but there is an underlying sense, too, that he has to get a move on. This is not a platform for his creativity as a DJ. The primary function here is to give a snapshot of where Soma is at and, perhaps, correct the common misapprehension that this Glasgow institution is exclusively a hard techno label. This Beck does capably, as he spins through Mark Henning's "You're Digging Into Me" and a VonStroke mix of "Mothership Reconnection" (where we get not just vocals but a palpable funkiness), while simultaneously showcasing the minimalism of Heiko Laux and Steve Rachmad's "The Viking" and providing a little historical perspective by way of Funk D'Void.
Despite its functionality, Soma 21 is hugely refreshing. Much as the patient mix can be a wonderful thing, so there are times when you just want to get in there and get busy (see also Ben Klock's fabric mix). Soma 21 is like going 0-60 MPH in a very expensive car. It's smooth, the gear changes are effortless, it covers a lot of ground in a short space of time and it races towards an explosive climax which, tantalisingly, never quite materialises. It is that rarest of things, a commercial DJ mix which leaves you wanting more.