B12 – Electro Soma 2xlp – WARP

WARPLP9RMichael Golding and Steve Rutter’s B12 project, both as a recording entity and a record label, has been more deeply influential than their modest fame might indicate. Via their label, they were able to collaborate with Stasis, Plaid, Kirk DeGiorgio, and Posthuman. Recording under B12 and various other aliases, they pioneered Intelligent Dance Music on WARP records and were notably present on both of the genre’s namesake Artificial Intelligence compilations.

While IDM has mutated perhaps beyond recognition into several different strands of music, their apparent heirs at the moment are more often classified roughly as ambient house. Whereas B12 were most active in the early 1990s, they’ve continued to release music intermittently over the years, and even when they’re not personally involved, their imitations abound with influences to be heard across current ambient-house labels like Slow Life, Acting Press, and S.O.N.S.

Electro Soma and Electro Soma II offer a retrospective view into the duo’s early efforts. Electro Soma was their first major album, originally available on WARP Records in 1993, only a few years into the then Sheffield-based label’s existence. Electro Soma II is billed as “A specially compiled companion volume to the reissue of Electro-Soma, an album compiled predominantly from early 12″s on the seminal B12 Records label by mysterious pseudonyms such as Musicology, Redcell and Cmetric. This sequel delves further into the B12 vaults, containing deep cuts and sought after rarities, including some tracks making their first appearance on vinyl.”

The music seems to beg the question, whether the underlying truism is that good music is necessarily timeless, or necessarily tethered to the moment of its expression. B12’s sci-fi futurism now has a retrospective quality to it that seems to contradict either simple pronouncement.

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