B12: B12-15
B12 Records

B12: B12-16
B12 Records

After Mike Golding and Steve Rutter established B12 in 1990, many listeners, prompted by the Motor City style of the dance music label's output, assumed the duo hailed from Detroit . Though B12 received a goodly share of attention and acclaim, Golding and Rutter abruptly disappeared from view in 1996, taking with them the five test pressings of B12-15 which never made it to release. Wind ahead ten years and inferior bootleg copies of the label's material are circulating, and minus a key label signature, messages engraved in the discs' run-out grooves (my B12-16, for example, includes the following: “Ride the slope” and “One Soundscape : Two Minds: Three Divergent Viewpoints”). After a wildly successful London gig, Golding and Rutter announce plans to not only regroup but re-master the back catalogue for a proposed 12-CD (!) box set. For now, listeners can re-familiarize themselves to B12 with the aforementioned B12-15 and B12-16.

So how fresh is B12's material? Put simply, worshippers of UK imprint Modern Love and artists like Andy Stott and Claro Intelecto will find much to love in these two B12 releases, especially when material like “Ecliptic” aligns itself so closely to their styles. B12-15's moods range from rambunctious (“Deluge (Slide Mix)”) to restrained (the bright melodic synth weaves of “New Age”). “Practopia” opens the disc in lively manner with skittish beat patterning and silky synth flourishes, while the more restrained “Solitude” is graced by a lonely main melody at its core. The slightly harder-edged B12-16 opens strongly with the driving electro-techno theatrics of “Slope” and space-age dynamics of “Magnetic Fields” before closing with the vigorous machine calisthenics of “Static Glitch.”

August 2007