B12
Time Tourist


4.0
excellent

Review

by hyperi0n STAFF
August 12th, 2013 | 12 replies | 1,376 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: robot music for organic robots

During the late 1980's and early 1990's electronic music underwent a sort of transformation that came along with the digital age and the rise of personal computing and digital sequencing. Previously, electronic music that came from areas like the Berlin Scene and the early Detroit Techno scene generally followed normative synthesis patterns, but instead of using acoustic instruments and recording the sound, electronically synthesized sounds were created and then recorded. Yet, with the rise of affordable personal computing and advancing digital technologies, electronic music was no longer inhibited by the limitations of human input to create music. Instruments and sounds could now be carefully preprogrammed, layered, and executed in much the same way that computer code is executed, and as a result electronic music began to cast away many traditional construction techniques and create music that had not previously been possible with simpler instruments.

At the cusp of this transformation was a small independent British record label named Warp Records that, for all intents and purposes, was one of the major contributors, along with other labels such as Rephlex and Planet Mu, in the evolution of modern electronic music. After a few initial releases, Warp Records released series of albums dubbed the Artificial Intelligence series which focused on showcasing the advancements of electronic music during this formative period and in pushing the limits of what electronically synthesized music could accomplish. The first release in this series, known as the Artificial Intelligence compilation, features input from many of the most important artists in the IDM, ambient techno, and braindance subgenres.

Tracks from early versions of acts like Aphex Twin, Autechre, The Black Dog, and The Orb were included on both and compilations as well as albums in the AI series. One of the most important yet sadly underappreciated artists who contributed to this series of releases was B12 (known as Musicology for the initialArtificial Intelligence compilation) who, after releasing a series of singles and 12" EP's, released their first full length album, (Electro-Soma), for the Warp Records Artificial Intelligence series in 1993. Their follow up release in 1996 entitled Time Tourist, which was also a part of the Artificial Intelligence series, represents the height of B12's output and remains to be one of the strongest electronic records released in that time period.

B12's sound before and during the Artificial Intelligence years as well as on their initial full-length record consisted mostly of 4/4 hi-hat 808 and 909 rhythms washed over by spacey synth pads and futuristic leads. While most of this output was by no means dance music, it was much more reminiscent of older techno styles (mainly Detroit Techno) and didn't fully embody the IDM tag retroactively placed on them after the tongue-in-cheek genre tag became a legitimate categorization. While their participation in the early years of the Warp legacy was probably the main factor in warranting the IDM tag, Time Tourist is a fully realized early IDM record that firmly places B12 among the most important and accomplished IDM artists of the time.

Time Tourist is stylistically very similar to many of the early Warp artists who went on to have greater success within this new style of electronic music. Most of the rhythmic sections are still mostly hi-hat 808 and 909 beats but this time with a much more intricately programmed and structured with more emphasis on rhythms that incorporate the whole spectrum of sound rather than just percussion ssections. Time Tourist is thematically grounded in an atmosphere of retro-futurism, with soundscapes that are very similar to science fiction literature like the Omni magazine and late 1970's and early 1980's science fiction. As a result, much of Time Tourist involves ambient synth pads and leads that often resemble the ambient and progressive electronic that came from Germany in the late 70's and early 80's.

As a result, B12's Time Tourist functions as a mélange of influences from earlier electronic scenes taken to the next level by the introduction of new technology that allowed for more complex, precise, and cerebral electronic music. In the wake of albums like LP5 and Confield, Time Tourist might feel slightly antiquated and rudimentary because of its foundation in much earlier styles of electronic music, but it remains to be one of the most successful and entertaining albums to emerge from the early movement of dance music you aren't supposed to dance to. Even without context, B12's second full-length record is an extremely enjoyable ambient techno/early-IDM record that will resonate with anyone familiar with and interested in the early output from acts like Autechre, Aphex Twin, Plaid, u-Ziq, and The Orb.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013


18450 Comments


yes its long, yes i dont actually start talking about the album until the third paragraph, and yes the writing is rigid and formulaic but all of this was on purpose i promise

a lot of research lead up to this review and i'm pretty sure most of what i said isnt stupid, but if you see anything that is glaringly uninformed please let me know

Digging: Recondite - Caldera/DRGN 2

Acanthus
August 12th 2013


9542 Comments


So fucking hard to find this.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013


18450 Comments


you can buy it on amazon for $17 its not that bad

Acanthus
August 12th 2013


9542 Comments


Nah I want a disc not a download, $35 on discogs sadly.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013


18450 Comments


yeah i know: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000003RHF/ref=tmm_acd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new

mindleviticus
August 12th 2013


8229 Comments


I've had this on my wishlist for a damn while probably should get on this shit

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

Acanthus
August 12th 2013


9542 Comments


Sweet, hate the way they list their sellers sometimes though; been meaning to check this out for ages.

"dubbed theArtificial Intelligence"

Need a space in between the and Artificial, and it reads a bit strange since you repeat the name of the series twice within two sentences using the same words.

Omni mag is back in action now, this would be great reading music.



Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013


18450 Comments


yeah i know next paycheck im gonna get a sub to it, i hope it is stylistically similar to the old ones
and none of this BUZZWORD FLOATING HEAD bullshit that every single magazine is today

and ty for the error, i fixed it but i gotta go back to that paragraph and figure out how to make it
read better, i had to find a way to show that the Artificial Intelligence was both a series of albums
and a self contained compilation at the same time

Acanthus
August 12th 2013


9542 Comments


I never checked out the original Omni, was too young, but I could do with a good scifi magazine or two.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013


18450 Comments


i was only born 3 years before first run ended but i loved looking at the art and found an internet archive of every print somewhere and read through a few, it is pretty awesome

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013


18450 Comments


yeah here it is: http://archive.org/details/omni-magazine

Acanthus
August 12th 2013


9542 Comments


Cool, thanks for the link!



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