Release Date: Nov 11, 2016
Record label: Ninja Tune
The follow up to 2014’s Ghosts of Then and Now sees DJ and producer Ryan Hunn (aka Illum Sphere) make a concerted effort to mix things up. As he has said in interviews surrounding the album, he has focused on not repeating himself and in his own words create something totally different using “a different palette, pace and energy”. The result is a self-assured album that sees him straddle the path between experimental ambience and offbeat house.
As on the Spectre Vex and Second Sight EPs, Illum Sphere's Ryan Hunn does more with less on his second full-length, Glass. Although Ghosts of Then & Now was impressive partly because it was so eclectic, by paring back Hunn achieves a more distinctive, more cohesive sound. Leaving his debut's vocal tracks and stylistic shifts by the wayside, Hunn layers gritty rhythms and delicate atmospheres with a cool clarity that lives up to the album's namesake (indeed, the rippling tones on "Red Glass" and "Wounded" sound like they could have been made by glass instruments).
Since his early releases on Fat City and Tectonic, Ryan Hunn's records as Illum Sphere have been full of sudden stylistic jumps. His DJ sets leap across hip-hop, psych-rock, EBM, soul, techno and beyond. But Hunn doesn't just blur genres. Even his harder moments, like his recent "Second Sight," have a smeared, shadowy quality suited to nocturnal hours.The second Illum Sphere album, Glass, shows he can capture that mood in sharper definition as well.
It’s amazing to consider how Ninja Tune, the label set up by Coldcut duo Matt Black and Jonathan More, has managed to remain at the front line of British electronic innovation for over 25 years, consolidating their mighty catalogue or frequently giving new artists vital exposure. Ryan Hunn, aka Illum Sphere, started releasing EPs on Fat City in 2009, before hooking up with Ninja Tune in 2014. After releasing two EPs, he produced his acclaimed debut album, Ghosts Of Then And Now, a stellar example of the imprint’s continuing vision.
Ryan Hunn is a versatile Manchester-based producer who, under the moniker Illum Sphere, has grazed a variety of genres in his body of work, such as techno, glitch, footwork and electronic soul. Apart from cerebral, Brainfeeder-style efforts via Bleep and Young Turks, Hunn has now firmly planted himself at Ninja Tune, through which he's released his most recent album, Glass.Over the span of three years, Hunn has delivered an impressive five releases that have showcased a deliberately oblique approach to production. This style is reoriented with Glass, as the producer sonically leans in the direction of his Spectre Vex and Second Sight 12" releases.
Illum Sphere 'Glass' (Ninja Tune)Take a walk on the experimental side with ‘Glass’, the new album from one of Manchester’s finest contemporary electronic artists, Illum Sphere. From putting on the infamous Hoya: Hoya parties to remixing Radiohead and signing with Ninja Tune, there’s no denying that he’s carved out an serious rep as both a producer and performer. On this, his second LP, we get a large dose of his studied approach to techno as he lays out nine little treats for all you connoisseurs of authentic, modern electronic music.