Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Illum Sphere

Ghosts of Then and Now

2014-02-24

Illum Sphere is the project of Ryan Hunn, who has paid his dues on the Manchester electronic scene most notably by founding renowned club night Hoya:Hoya in 2008; the event has hosted an impressive array of resident DJs (Eclair Fifi, Jon K, Lone, Krystal Klear) as well as drawing acts to perform in the Manchester club that have already established their reputation as forerunners in experimental, ambient, downtempo and house styles (Four Tet, Dabrye, Ikonika, Kuedo). Hunn has since released a slew of EPs and tracks through some of the most reputable electronic labels such as Fat City, 3024, Tectonic, and Young Turks, producing exploratory cosmic atmospheres contrasted with techno and psychedelia vibes. He was also asked by XL Recordings to remix Radiohead for their King of Limbs Boiler Room collection (playing alongside the likes of Jamie XX and Caribou) and to DJ the afterparty to their 02 show. Long story short, Hunn has already been around the block, but his debut full-length as Illum Sphere has the potential to introduce his music to an audience beyond the circle of avid underground electroheads.

Ghost of Then and Now possesses a dark energy throughout, but is compositionally varied enough to illustrate Hunn's diverse sonic influences. On the tracks featuring female vocal stylings from Shadowbox ("The Road", "Love Theme from Foreverness", "Embryonic") the music takes on a softer timbre and resembles the R&B/future garage pairings best represented by artists like SBTRKT and Little Dragon. "Sleeprunner" is a grimy, understated pulse with ominous mini-samples weaved throughout - best suited for driving in the rain at 3am - while "Near the End" is complex, jazzy, and multilayered. The production of "Ra_Light" has a similar feel to Flying Lotus' newer releases and the following track "It'll Be Over Soon" is like Aphex Twin at his creepiest. The self-titled track, however, is an interesting blend of dancehall/dub with future garage beats and shows Illum Sphere is its own beast entirely. For anyone who follows forward-thinking and futuristic music, Ghosts of Then and Now is a must listen.

Recommended Tracks: #3 "Sleeprunner", #6 "Ra_Light", #10 "Love Theme From Foreverness"

Sigmund Steiger
 

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.