Earlier this year, early '90s intelligent techno pioneers B12 returned to action with a surprise single on Soma. Now a solo project from original member Steve Rutter, the B12 comeback gathers pace with a follow-up for Delsin. Happily, Orbiting Souls is every bit as enchanting as the records Rutter and then partner Michael Golding released on Warp some 20 years ago. Deep, melodious, spacey, musically complex and effortlessly attractive, the five tracks variously touch on electro ("Nautilus Horizon"), spaced-out machine funk ("It's My Blood"), classic Ambient House ("Two Stories"), downtempo IDM-jazz (the brilliant "Nothing"), and Aphex Twin style ambient-meets-techno madness ("Universal Alignment"). In other words, it's ace.
There's no doubt that 90s UK techno is popular again - just look at Discogs prices for confirmation of the renewed interest in this form. But what do those revered acts sound like now? The exhaustive 2016 compilation, Brainbox, did much to shine a light on those artists' current trajectory and this follow up remix package also does a fine job. The Black Dog deliver an atmospheric ambient take on Scanner's "Eros", while on Future Sound of London's "Monolith", a somewhat bleaker, dystopian take on ambience is audible. That said, classic UK techno also had a place on the dance floor; Kirk Degiorgio's tunneling take of B12's "World's End" - remixed under his Future/Past name - and Mark Broom's skeletal electro version of the same track show that nearly 25 years later, that this remains the case.