After quite a few single releases, its taken Illum Sphere (Ryan Hunn) some time to release his debut ‘Ghosts of Then And Now’ on Ninja Tune.
Illum Sphere’s music is a mellow mix of jazz, soul and hip-hop wrapped up in cosy retro-futuristic electronica beats. ‘Ghosts of Then And Now’ may be 13 tracks long but it effortlessly fills your head with dreamy thoughts as soon as the opening ‘Liquesce’ plays. Standout tracks include the hypnotic ‘The Road’, featuring Shadowbox who appears on 3 tracks, a seductive and mysterious 2-stepper. Album highlight ‘It’ll Be Over Soon’ opens with crackles and a foreboding piano, before some peppered beats and a variety of different noises intertwine to drive the track to an ever increasing momentum.
There’s quite a few tracks on ‘Ghosts of Then And Now’ that don’t raise your pulses, such as the single ’Sleeprunner’, ‘Love Theme From Foreverness’ and ‘Lights Out / In Shinjuku’. These and many other tracks sound very similar to bands of a similar ilk such as Ikonika, Bonobo, Flying Lotus and quite a few others.
‘Ghosts of Then And Now’ doesn’t sound like an album that should be released in the Winter months, such is it Summery disposition. Ryan Hunn’s excellent early EP’s like ‘Incoming’, ‘Long Live the Plan’ and ‘Titan’ showcases a musician full of invention, but ‘Ghosts of Then And Now’ plays it too safe for my liking.