One of only a handful of British techno acts ostensibly pursuing a legacy of British techno firmly rooted in its Detroit pre-history, B12 are also (perhaps as a result) one of the few British techno acts also hailed by the Motor City's aesthetic elite. Notoriously shy of the music press, the London-based duo of Mike Golding and Steve Rutter have quietly made their contribution to post-rave techno by updating Detroit's signature optimistic/dystopian futurism for a digital age, constructing tracks of glinting, heavily syncopated electro-techno with a strong base in melody and mood.
They issued their first handful of untitled 12"s -- attributed to a loosely structured catalog of pseudonyms like Redcell, Musicology, and Cmetric -- on their own B12 Records label, and were immediately hailed alongside U.K. techno acts like LFO, the Black Dog, Sweet Exorcist, and Tricky Disco as heralding something of a new age of post-acid house techno-based electronic music. The pair signed with Warp in 1992, and were included (as Musicology) on the label's seminal Artificial Intelligence compilation. Electro-Soma, issued by Warp in 1993, assembled the best of their early years, and the group followed the release with a three-year hiatus before releasing the like-sounding Time Tourist in 1996. Both full-lengths were reissued in the U.S. by Wax Trax!/TVT.
The darker, breakbeat-driven 3EP was released in 1998, but B12 subsequently disappeared from the music scene. In 2005, Golding and Rutter announced the relaunch of B12 Records. The duo began performing shows again, and they released three EPs in 2007 (including the full release of an EP which never made it past a test pressing in 1996) before issuing the full-length Last Days of Silence in 2008. The album included a bonus disc of live material, and a separate disc of remixes was released later in the year. Additionally, several volumes of B12 Records Archive collections were issued, compiling released as well as unreleased material from the duo's various projects.
During the first half of the 2010s, B12 seemed to disappear again, but they returned in 2015 with two EPs: Bokide 325, issued by Soma, and Orbiting Souls, released by Delsin. In 2016, the duo started a new label, FireScope, and continued their prolific run of EPs and singles. Additional releases also appeared on Central Processing Unit (All Abandon All), De:tuned (Transient Life), and Touched (BrokenBroken). In 2017, Warp reissued Electro-Soma along with a disc of archival material, Electro-Soma II. ~ Sean Cooper & Paul Simpson