On Ninja Tune
Restless as a DJ and adventurous in his productions, Illum Sphere (real name Ryan Hunn) is both a key player in the Manchester scene and a unique presence on the global stage. Deliberately oblique in his approach, he has still had a vital impact on electronic music, and it’s about to get bigger.
Hoya:Hoya, the club night he founded in 2008 along with Jonny Dub, has steadily expanded its reputation in and outside Manchester: they now boast Eclair Fifi, Jon K, Lone, and Krystal Klear as resident DJs, as well as mic skills from Chunky and visuals by EMN. That’s a hotbed of talent from which radio stations, festivals and record labels outside Manchester draw.
Hoya:Hoya also brings names like Four Tet, Dabrye, Ikonika, and Kuedo, to the city, helping to spread their name as a nightclub singular in style and one of the best parties in the country. It’s well known that you can’t fully predict what music you’ll get on a Hoya:Hoya night, let alone from one of Illum Sphere’s own DJ sets. He’ll skip effortlessly between hip hop, psych, techno, boogie and you name it, before you even know what’s happened.
It’s partly through this reach that Illum Sphere has also attracted international attention. He’s played from Low End Theory in LA to Sydney, Australia, and besides releases on Manchester’s own Fat City had output on Martyn’s label 3024, Pinch’s Tectonic, and recently on Young Turks. As with his boundary skipping DJ sets, Illum Sphere’s releases are marked not by a regulated approach beginning with tempo or genre, but a free-spirited attitude that reigns in a range of genres.
Photo by Shaun Bloodworth