Tuesday 25th Oct, 2016
Silicone Soul
From: UK
Silicone Soul

Since first appearing on Soma Records in 1998, DJ-production duo Craig Morrison and Graeme Reedie, aka Silicone Soul, have occupied a special place in the over-crowded field of electronic dance music, mainly through the depth and quality of their recordings plus innate understanding of music‘s grand heritage and its constant development.

Silicone Soul is the perfect name to describe the way they cajole then sculpt every sonic ingredient from their machines with maximum care and emotion. They've always turned their heads away from vacuous trends to follow their passion and instincts, famously turning down Top Of The Pops for their 2001 top ten hit ‘Right On' but happy in the knowledge that every single they release kicks off in the underground clubs; esoteric, melodically-textured and underpinned by a compulsive, euphoric throb harking back to the earliest days of disco. Over the course of four albums, the pair have turned the often tricky task of making a substantial electronic dance album into an art form, partly by remembering what made classic albums happen and last in the first place.

Craig and Graeme met at school but didn't just rise from the rave, instead cutting their musical teeth on original punk ructions by the Stooges and MC5, while recognising the groundbreaking innovations of the Rolling Stones and soul pioneers such as Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield (whose ‘Right On For The Darkness' provided a blueprint for their ‘Right On 4 Tha Darkness'). In the late 80s-early 90s the duo became justifiably addicted to the interstellar, drugged-out soul of Primal Scream's Screamadelica and its attendant Andrew Weatherall remixes. When they heard Slam's Orde and Stuart venting such at the first night of their Soma club at Glasgow's Arches, the potential and euphoria of electronic dance music drenched their musical ambitions, leading to them setting up their own independent record label called Depth Perception in late 1996 (which included an early song called ‘Silicone Soul'). These releases caught the ears of Soma supreme Dave Clarke and Slam, who had started Soma at the start of the decade and, even then were counted among the top UK dance labels with a formidable roster. An underlying punk ethic has always been at the heart of Slam and Soma, which was enough to convince Craig and Graeme that this was the right label for them.

Silicone Soul's first Soma releases were ‘The Strip' followed by ‘All Nite Long' (their love of the Stones emerging in the title of third track,' Midnite Rambler‘) in 1998, followed by ‘Right On 4 Tha Darkness' in 1999 with further 12-inches including ‘Nosferatu', 'The Answer', 'Seven Day Weekend', ‘Inferno', ‘The Poisoner's Diary', ‘Under A Werewolf Moon', ‘Damascene Moments', ‘The Pact', ‘The Snake Charmer', ‘Bad Machines' and ‘The Pulse'. Silicone Soul have released four critically acclaimed albums (All on Soma) ...A Soul Thing [2000], Staring into Space [2005], Save Our Souls [2006] and last year's Silicone Soul.

Early on, each release became an event; guaranteed carnage at sweaty clubs and while the albums made headily compulsive home listening as panoramic visions in their own right. Their tracks could be deep and exotic or roof raising in wild pitch style, while the sense of infinite space betrayed their fixation with Temptations producer Norman Whitfield.

In keeping with Soma's in-house mix swapping, Craig and Graeme have remixed several names on the roster, including Slam and starting their Darkroom Dubs imprint to venture deeper underground with a roster including Mirror Music, Sei A and Extrawelt.

Silicone Soul have also adapted themselves to live gigs as they tour extensively; in the last year they've left indelible footprints anywhere from Murmansk to Melbourne, while holding residences at Barcelona's La Terrrazza, Antwerp's Café D'Anvers and Pressure, Slam's current club at The Arches where it all began. They have also become firm favourites on the festival circuit.

Last year Silicone Soul received two nominations in DJ Mag's Best Of British awards (Best Album, Best Producer). Their accompanying praise cited, ‘a name that encapsulates the marriage of the synthetic and the sincere at the heart of their music...not only one of Scotland's most exciting and challenging dance acts, but Britain and beyond.'

2010 has already seen remix EP's from their last Soma album and label compilation ‘Darkroom Dubs Volume 2 Complied & Mixed By Silicone Soul', a second collection of exclusive, unreleased and favourite tracks from their label, which stands tall as one of the year's best musical journeys. Recent releases include ‘Silicone Soul Remixed' for Soma, featuring Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Prompt, Nhar & Klartraum and ‘Time Mariner's Mirrour', for Darkroom Dubs.

There's an emotional depth and subtle cinematic mischief running through Silicone Soul's music of a sort rarely glimpsed in electronic dance music. They've never copied the afore-mentioned musical heroes, but that same indefinable spirit which drove them seems to have taken root in their creative juice dispenser, alive and knocking on house heaven's door.

(Kris Needs, 2010)


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