by Illum Sphere


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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). The interplay of "Fuel the Fire"'s ping-ponging electronics, blunt beat, and poignant melody is as hypnotically satisfying as watching a clock's gears, and Hunn gives his moods and sounds plenty of room to unfold. Glass' wide-ranging tracks ebb and flow with even more grace than those on Ghosts of Then & Now, particularly on the serpentine "Fall into Water" and the nearly nine-minute-long "Thousand Yard Stare," which builds a decaying melody, ticking watch, and four-on-the-floor beat into an unusual house epic. By going long, Hunn dives deeper into the eerie moods he introduced on his debut, and lets them flow in different directions: with its lower-than-low end and submerged vocals, "River" is stygian dub; meanwhile, "Oracle" sounds like it's wending its way through the stars. But as abstract as things get, Hunn never lets the energy drop; even when the beats aren't heavy, tracks like "The Journey" remain kinetic. It all makes for a more focused -- but far from simple -- album that's a gorgeous, confident step forward for Illum Sphere.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/11/2016
Label: Ninja Tune
UPC: 5054429005882
catalogNumber: 237
Rank: 175706

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