- Back in the early '90s, Mike Golding and Steve Rutter had a very strict idea of what constituted techno. They embraced an almost militant dedication to the lessons of the First Wave: techno transcends the dance floor, samples are forbidden and jazz is the teacher. The duo, best known as B12, were even quoted in 1993 describing Underground Resistance's heavy salvos as "drug noise." They eventually embraced sampling, before backing away from the scene, selling all their hardware and reemerging in 2007 with a soft synth-laden take on their classic battery of Roland drums and elegiac string pads. Concessions to the dance floor became more discernible in tracks like "Slope," but with recent releases on Soma and now Delsin, B12's more sensitive tendencies have returned to timeless effect.
Orbiting Souls was written solely by Rutter, the more downbeat-minded of the original pair, and though its tempos vary, a sense of horizontality ensues. Tracks like "Nothing" evoke a boundless snow field on which considered, pin-prick gestures are sketched, turning the familiar palette into something uncanny. "Two Stories" has a deliberate, sub-120 BPM swagger that pitches up quite nicely, though its gait gives ample room for digital zips to modulate across the icy landscape. "Nautilus Horizon" foregrounds tender, emotive pads before a muscular square bass reminds us of more animal pleasures. "It's In My Blood" and "Universal Alignment" are the EP's more fleet-footed tunes, and though some dance floors may balk at their angles, there's enough robo-flex to appeal to those with a soft spot for IDM-inflected electro and techno. The strange takeaway of Orbiting Souls is its ability to sound stoically classicist without seeming trapped in the past.
A1 Two Stories
A2 Nautilus Horizon
B1 It's My Blood
B3. Universal Alignment