Mutated electronics
Ones To Watch - Illum Sphere

A shining ball of light” - Ryan Hunn’s nom-de-guerre translates well into understanding his amorphous and mutant music. It’s also riddled with mystery. “Nobody knows where the name came from,” he frowns, “not even me…” What we do know is that as Illum Sphere he’s helping reinstall Manchester’s dance supermacy with his dark, emotional and often awkward music. Spinning alongside cohort Jonny Dub at their Hoya:Hoya night and associated label, expect to hear the electric sounds of Mancunian contemporaries Lone, Krystal Klear and Indigo rub shoulders with their inspirational catalyst Dabrye.

Few producers tether the nebulous strands of modern bass in such a surprising and penetrating fashion. His influences are wide (“really new grime to really really old Turkish psych”) and his productions are equally disparate, a variance that powers our fasciantion with hismsuic. “I am terrible at making one genre,” he confesses. “If I was a sick house producer that made amazing house then I’d just stick to that. But Illum Sphere as a concept or a body of work has a theme: it’s not genre specific, but you could call it ‘moody’.”

With releases on Pinch's Tectonic records, Fat City, and remixes for the monolithic Radiohead, the producer has recently seen the plaudits return as he expects re-rubs from Om Unit, Ikonika, Kidkaknievil and his hero Tadd Mullinix.

Ryan describes his music production as a “coping mechanism” for his darker moments. “I am not a nine-to-five producer, I can go a month without making anything. There’s a part of my personality that a lot of people have, and when I get into that mindset I don’t want to be around people. So instead of exposing that massive flaw of my personality to all the people that I love, I may as well lock myself away and make stuff. And that’s when I make my best music. Music is a reaction for me.”

Words by Matthew Bennett
Photo by Samuel John Butt

Where: Manchester
What: Mutated electronics
Get 3 songs: ‘Codex’ (Radiohead remix), ‘Psycho’, ‘Dreamstealin’’
Unique fact: Illum Sphere wrote his best track ‘Psycho’ after five days of insomnia.


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