Illum Sphere Illum SphereThe Plan Is Dead
FAT CITY (FC12036, 12” + digital)
It’s possible that “Titan EP”, his early 2010 contribution to the 3024 catalogue by special request of Martyn himself, will be Illum Sphere ’s high point. For now, it doesn’t look like “The Plan Is Dead” is good enough to substitute “Titan” as one of my favourite 12”s because that record is exceptional, marvellous, in a career that up to that point had been following a different path. There are two constants in the Illum Sphere sound: hip-hop and futurism. “Titan” replaced the broken rhythms with a more rigid pattern, almost techno, but it was a one-off. “The Plan Is Dead”, on the other hand, goes back to normality, and we once again find in our hands five short pieces, full of mystery and science-fiction on which nervous breaks, bits of analogue electronica, the influence of dubstep and space music return, all in adequate proportions, so that there is a sober balance. Illum Sphere leaves, therefore, his mark: he has released another formidable 12”.
“The Plan Is Dead”, in fact, is the closing of a year during which Ryan Hunn has established himself as a rising star on the British electronica scene, with his remixes and the birth of his own label, Hoya:Hoya. He does it, moreover, confusingly: is it more dubstep than hip-hop? Or is it the other way around? It could all be summed up in a rather out-of-fashion word like wonky –in reality, it’s insufficient: “One For Dimlite” is more bossa nova than anything else–, and all that, because the 12” sounds like a condensed and miniature version of Flying Lotus’ “Cosmogramma”. With one thing in the Mancunian’s favour: the tracks, although short, don’t sound like sketches without a logical conclusion, but show a direction, with a start and a finish. “Diablo Day Out”, “Supercharged”, “An Old Scape (Kill Them Kill)” an “Aftermath” are the paragraphs of a short and pretty galactic tale.
Claude T. Hill