MUSICOLOGY / 2001: B12 Records Archive Vol. 1/ FUTURE/PAST / ZEE# / AS ONE / MUSICOLOGY: B12 Records Archive Vol. 2 (B12 Records)


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Musicology/2001: B12 Records Archive Vol. 1

B12 Records Archive Vol. 1
B12 Records 2008
12 Tracks. 60mins04secs

B12 Records Archive Vol. 2
B12 Records 2008
11 Tracks. 60mins35secs

In recent years, there has been much archive digging amongst electronic artists, with the likes of The Orb, The Future Sound Of London, Monolake, Pole or 808 States all bringing out shiny remastered albums and previously unreleased or long unavailable tracks. Coming hot on the heels of their first new material in a decade, the British duo formed of Mike Golding and Steve Rutter are now undertaking a vast exhuming project by collecting the entire back catalogue of their B12 Records imprint on CD, most of it for the first time.

Between 1991 and 1995, the pair released a number of EPs under a variety of guises (Musicology, Redcell, Cmetric, Infamix, 2001), some of which were later collected on B12’s seminal Electro-Soma as part of Warp’s Artificial Intelligence series, as well as publishing like-minded artists such as Kirk Degiorgio (Future/Past, As One) and Steve Pickton (Stasis). Presented in chronological order, these EPs, with some additional previously unreleased tracks, will be compiled onto seven double CDs, released over the course of seven months. The first two volumes collect the label’s first four EPs, three of which feature Golding and Rutter‘s material, and one which collects four tracks by Degiorgio and one by Zee#, AKA Lee Purkis and Matt Cogger.

Heavily influenced by the sound emanating from Detroit in the late eighties and early nineties, led by pioneers like Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and later on Carl Craig, Ritchie Hawtin and Jeff Mills, Golding and Rutter’s blend of techno combined fine melodies, warm grooves and dreamy soundscapes in the purest tradition, but also included some more European flavours, putting them very much on a par with Degiorgio and most of the early Warp luminaries. These first two volumes illustrate perfectly what the pair achieved in a very short period of time and justify their status as one of the most important acts of the early nineties. Tracks such as Metropolis, Obsessed, both of which ended up on Electro-Soma, Future Bass Seven, or Bubbles, with their elegant sonic drapes and clean-cut beats, are vibrant testaments of the maturity that the pair demonstrated then, while more subdued pieces such as Telefone 529, Weightless Conditions, Virtual Reality or the previously unreleased Ming, Eiyla, Colloid or Kaxala-80, are fine examples of the more atmospheric side of their work,

Degiorgio’s contribution as Future/Past, which opens the second volume of these Archives, denote an edgier, harder muscled techno here, but the three As One pieces share with the B12 ones a flair for light and airy melodies contained within seemingly straightforward yet intricate rhythmic forms. Your Hand In My Mind, with its smooth beat and groove, is a wonderful example of refined mid-tempo techno, while the slightly coarser Harmony Park achieves a surprising balance between rough and smooth. Stuck in between are the threatening tones of Zee#’s TV People casts a much darker shadow over this collection.

Of course, electronic music has evolved quite considerably since these were first released, but the vast majority of the tracks collected on these first two releases have aged pretty well. Very much part of the UK’s electronic scene history, echoes of these tracks can still be heard nowadays in the work on some, making these releases not only relevant, but also essential.

Vol. 1: 4.6/5 /Vol. 2: 4.1/5

Kirk Degiorgio | B12 Records
Buy: Vol. 1 – CD | Vol. 2 – CD

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