After a clutch reissue of Autechre’s Incunabula, Warp Records come through with a much-needed vinyl pressing of B12’s debut full-length, also from the label’s landmark Artificial Intelligence series (fingers crossed for Surfing On Sine Waves next). Electro-Soma collects the best of the duo’s 12-inch singles released on their own B12 Recordings under a slew of different recording aliases, and the tracks work much better here sequenced as an album, perhaps due to the otherwordly nature of B12’s music or the visionary scope of their aesthetic that begs to be consumed in longer sittings. Mike Golding and Steve Rutter took Juan Atkins and Derrick May’s visionary Detroit techno sound and pushed it completely out of the stratosphere, with next-level sound design and hi-tech rhythms that quickly caught the attention of Warp as they were shifting into phase 2 of label operations, linking with Autechre, Aphex Twin, Richie Hawtin, The Black Dog and Speedy J for the Artificial Intelligence series in an attempt to firmly establish techno as intelligent music for home-listening. On Electro-Soma, B12 reveal similiarities to Autechre in the cadence and consistency of their productions as well as their affinity for FM synthesizers, but where Autechre’s highly-experimental trajectory was forged by a lifelong obsession with hip-hop and b-boy culture, B12’s sound is clearly rooted in Detroit techno, with themes of futurism, outer space and science fiction inherent in the tracks contained on Electro-Soma. Highlights include sublime electro cut “Hall Of Mirrors” and the intoxicatingly catchy “Obsessed,” which, despite their otherworldly vibe, wouldn’t have been at all out of place 25 years ago in a sweaty New York basement club or soundtracking a vogue competition. Light speed jacking techno stepper “Obtuse” and interstellar acid bubbler “Metropolis” further display their ‘floor potential, while “Bio Dimension,” “Basic Emotion,” “Drift” and “Telefone 529” venture out toward the fringes. On double vinyl for the first time in 23 years, housed in deluxe gatefold sleeve with all-new printed insert containing extensive notes from B12 detailing the album’s creation and code for digital download. Recommended.
- first time on vinyl since 1993
- double vinyl pressing
- gatefold sleeve
- printed insert with extensive liner notes
- digital download included
- music label: Warp Records 1993 / 2017
reviewed by peanut dust 09/2017
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