Photos by Ian Ramsey /
Blacklight feat Robert Hood, Blawan, James Ruskin photo gallery
Blacklight returns for a special easter sunday event.
Robert Hood is an artist that needs little introduction. A founding member of the legendary group Underground Resistance as a 'Minister Of Information' with Mad Mike Banks & Jeff Mills, his seminal works on Jeff Mill's Axis and his very own M-Plant imprint paved the way for a multitude of stripped-down minimalism that guided much of techno's path throughout the late Nineties. As Birmingham's Surgeon once remarked, 'When Hood released his pivotal 'Minimal Nation' EP in 1993, it was like a bomb went off.' Over the course of two decades, Hood has constructed and sustained a reputation for being one of techno's most consistent artists, beginning with a pair of crucial 1994 releases: Internal Empire and Minimal Nation. Cheap released Nighttime World the following year, and it was followed by M-Plant's release of Nighttime World, Vol. 2 in 2000. An association with Peacefrog yielded 2002's Point Blank and 2003's Wire to Wire. After the 2010 and 2011 M-Plant releases Omega and Omega: Alive, Hood linked with Music Man for 2012's Motor: Nighttime World, Vol. 3. Also a well-regarded DJ, his official mixes include Rare Species and Fabric 39.
Very few producers have caused as much commotion as Blawan of late. His label associations (Hessle Audio, R&S, Clone Basement Series, Hinge Finger) speak volumes. But it's his percussion that screams out loudest. Atonal bursts of block percussion near overshadow lo-fi organic quakes, but turn out to work in complete harmony. Previously Blawan aka Jamie Roberts was a drummer, and his distinctive programming skills for which he is now renowned for are a testament to this. A move to hardware in the studio led to frequent collaborations with The Analogue Cops and Pariah, the latter of which he performs with as Karenn. This year sees the release of Sheworks 005, a collaboration with Surgeon as Trade, adding to an already impressive discography; a debut release for Hessle Audio, a debut remix for Warp Records and a slew of 12" releases.
The name James Ruskin is so interwoven into the fabric of British techno. Like so many producers of his era, his early forays into production were informed by a passion for hip-hop and electro, and he launched the Blueprint label with the late Richard Polson in 1996, arguably when UK techno was at its pinnacle of recognition. Since relaunching after a brief hiatus in 2009, Blueprint has re-established itself as a torchbearer for exquisitely produced techno. Not only has Ruskin pushed forward-facing techno through his Blueprint label, his productions have also rightfully earned their place on highly regarded labels such as Ostgut Ton, Dynamic Tension and most notably Tresor, who released his 2011 LP 'The Dash' and ten years earlier his seminal 'Into Submission' album. Most recently, his work with Mark Broom has been released as 'The Fear Ratio' and his acclaimed partnership with Sandwell District boss Karl O'Connor has produced epic results as O/V/R (including a live show of the same name). Evidently, James Ruskin's involvement in techno invariably results in quality music with substance and character.