Hot off the press: B12 (the return)

B12 - Orbiting SoulsThe original duo of Steve Rutter and Michael Golding aka B12 are as much a part of the fabric of British electronic music as their comtemporaries LFO, Aphex Twin, Nightmares on Wax, Nexus 21 and Global Communication

Having helped play a defining role in shaping the sounds of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) in the early 90s with their own B12 Recordings, they released landmark albums Electro-Soma and Time Tourist on WARP. Though the veterans have been quiet for quite some time, the surprise release of “Bokide 325” on Soma Records was a welcome return after some 8 years of relative silence.

Although the new material now only features Steve Rutter, Dutch maestros Delsin were all to happy to host a follow up single. Titled “Orbiting Souls”, the veteran artist pays hommage to the loss of a friend and his profound belief that we are all surrounded by the souls and spirits of those who have departed this life for the next. A somewhat complex journey, Rutter tackles deep feelings of isolation and sadness, acknowledging the many great and wonderful things around that ultimately help us get through the challenges of life.

Comprising of five tracks, the EP opens with ‘Two Stories’ – a thoughtful mêlée of metronomic pulses that wells up with meloncholic pads before out of nowhere, Rutter drops a 909 drum track to flip the script and inject a sense that there’s more to life than we often come to expect. Taking the shape of a classic B12 jam, ‘Nautilis Horizon’ evolves with epic brassy strings and a combination of elegant pads to the gently sway of a well poised 808.

‘It’s in My Blood’ is a fusion of the classic electro and techno influences that are very much in B12’s DNA: a slickly spaced out groove that slithers along with gorgeous strings, building bit by bit until the drums give and go. Stripping the palette back to a set of beats, pops and FM modelled chimes, ‘Nothing’ uses a bare set of fundamental elements and a rolling retro bassline in unique harmony. Last but not least, ‘Universal Alignment’ plays out to a drum track with a beautifully ordered baseline, a constant reminder that external structures play their role in holding everything together.

Absorbing and cerebral, the world of B12 is nothing short of excellent and it is with great pleasure we get to give this EP the BIG thumbs up.