Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Graffiti Dystopia!

B12 - Hall Of Mirrors

I, like yourself, like music. Though I've never been able to answer that dreaded question "What sort of music do you like?". What sort? What "sort"? I like... all sorts. I, again, in common with yourself, like a lot of everything, as long it makes me smile, makes me dance (in a manner of speaking), makes me think, makes me go "Bugger, that's rad", makes me glad to have ears. And that "sort" of music one finds in all genres, times and cultures. However, however... if I HAD to pick a genre, if there was some horrific situation that could only be averted by me saying what "sort" of music I liked... Detroit techno. And then to cloud the issue, I'd have to narrow it down to music influenced by... Detroit Techno. It's a formula I never tire of, machine rhythms, twinned with soft synths and strings. Simple, clean, nostaligc and futuristic. I'm no purist, in fact I'm some sort of heretical Detroit fan as my favorite protagonists of this "sort" of music don't come from Detroit at all, but from Essex, England. Don't get me wrong, I love Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Carl Craig, Jeff Mills, Underground Resistance and all the originators. But right now, I'm talking about B12. They, through their lp "Electro Soma", back in, oooh 1993, introduced me to the world of Detroit, and even though I have discovered all manner of musical gems from and inspired by that city, it's always to B12 I return.

The third album in Warp's legendary "Artificial Intelligence" series, Electro Soma takes the blueprint and launches into space without losing sight of what makes Detroit great. Economy, atmosphere, pristine rhythms and bass with emotion pouring through the transistors and wires. The wonder is how so few, seemingly sparse elements constantly tell so many stories, fire off the imagination with such understated efficiency. If any style of music were to be described as having grace, it's here, on this record. And on all their records, to be honest.

As they say on the radio interview from 1992 on Prelude pt.I "We bought records from Detroit and this was the music that we liked, we made music like this, and this music dried up all of a sudden one and half years ago, ...so we tried to continue it... " And why not, especially when they do it so well.

Their last release was the "3 EP" on Warp in 1997, fortunately the human body stores several years' worth of B-12, so it has been possible to get by without new material. However, there have recently been signs of their reanimation. Over the last year the've begun to play live again (they're playing at the Unofficial Warp Xmas Rave at The Poke on the 16th December), and rumour has it that their legendary back catalogue of strictly limited 12"s is due for the box set treatment, and maybe even a new album.

B12, not just for anemic vegans.

Buy - Electro Soma Amazon
Visit - Very old, outdated but official site
Visit - B12 Discography

1 comment:

GTTRBRKZ said...

Quality music, quality post