REDCELL / MUSICOLOGY / B12: B12 Records Archive Vol. 3 / REDCELL / CMETRIC / B12: B12 Records Archive Vol. 4 (B12 Records)


Posted on Feb 17th 2009 01:59 am

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B12: B12 Records Archive Vol. 3

B12 Records Archive Vol. 3
B12 Records 2009
11 Tracks. 61mins30secs

B12: B12 Records Archive Vol. 4

B12 Records Archive Vol. 4
B12 Records 2009
13 Tracks. 61mins43secs

Icon: arrow Buy: Vol. 3 – CD | iTunes

The archaeological endeavour of excavating the classic British techno published on B12 Records between 1991 and 1994, which began at the end of last year with the publication of the first two volumes in this Archive series, continues with two more. Volume 3 compiles the first, self-titled Redcell EP and Hall Of Mirrors, the second EP from Mike Golding and Steve Rutter as Musicology, while the fourth volume focuses on Retreat From Unpleasant Realities, the second Redcell EP, and the Cmetric eponymous release. Both volumes also contain additional previously unreleased material recorded around the same time. All original EPs were released on very limited runs and on vinyl only.

In a very short period of time, Mike Golding and Steve Rutter established their unique blend of polished techno grooves and lush melodies, heavily influenced by late eighties and early nineties Detroit techno, and developed a reputation that put them at the forefront of the music scene of the day, alongside the likes of Kirk Degiorgio, with whom they regularly collaborated on releases through both their own imprint, B12 Records, and Degiorgio’s A.R.T., and early Warp stalwarts like The Black Dog, LFO and Autechre. But, while Autechre’s sound was primarily rooted in hip-hop, and The Black Dog was feeding from techno and hip-hop in pretty much equal measures, B12, in whichever form they appeared, remained true to the Detroit sound, only bending it enough to give it an undeniable British flavour.

Every track featured on Volume 3 bears the unmistakable B12 stamp, whether it is on upbeat pieces such as the pin-ball wizardry of album opener Active E-Motion, the graceful melodies of Paradroid, Hall Of Mirrors and Satori, which were both included on the band’s Time Tourist album, published on Warp in 1996, or the most introvert Boundaries and Somewhere Now. The selection is quite varied and counts amongst some of the finest tracks the pair have produced; the aforementioned Paradroid and Hall Of Mirrors, together with pieces such as Inaneion or the beautiful and haunting Go With The Hiss, are all pure classics in their own right and define perhaps better than any other what Golding and Rutter stood for during that period.

Volume 4 is an overall moodier collection, which, while still submitted to regular rhythmic assaults, focuses on deeper, more atmospheric structures. This is very much the case with Why The Reason and Soundtrack Of A Stranger, and even more so with the melancholic Sanctum or the feverish Tribeca and Echo T.R.X. 314. Where, on previous outputs, Golding and Rutter had mostly devised tracks that could stand their ground on a dance floor, these two EPs, and the peripheral unreleased tracks accompanying them, gave out a much sombre and ominous glow more suited to the dark corners of a chill out room or the dimly lit prospect of a lounge at the end of the night.

Collected as they are, on separate CDs, to retain some element of integrity for each project presumably, the tracks presented on these two volumes, give a further opportunity to appreciate the nuances between the various projects that sprouted from the B12 studios, but also highlight their deep connections and occasionally accentuate the similarities of sound and approach. In the early nineties, the abundance of new sounds provided B12 with a seemingly constant creative influx, and the resulting tracks, as shown here, have stood the test of time pretty well.

Vol. 3: 4.5/5 / Vol. 4: 4.1/5

Icon: arrow B12 Records
Icon: arrow Buy: Vol. 3 – CD | iTunes

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