James Ruskin is one of the leading lights in UK techno. With a musical history that can be traced back to mid-80s electro and hip-hop, Ruskin brings a long background and deep knowledge of underground electronic music to his productions and DJing. When Detroit techno emerged in the UK at the start of the 90s, Ruskin bought all the key records – and started to DJ soon afterwards but quickly realised that he needed to make how own music to gain recognition. Subsequently, Ruskin and long-time friend Richard Polson set up a studio together and, by 1996, had also launched a label, Blueprint (a sub-label, Coda, followed in 2000). Originally working together as Outline, Polson and Ruskin’s ﬁrst searing interpretations of minimalism formed part of a new wave of UK techno producers alongside Birmingham’s Surgeon and Regis and London’s Oliver Ho. By 1998, having released a number of solo EPs and collaborative works with Polson, Ruskin put out his debut album, ‘Further Design’ on Blueprint. ‘Design’, along with the rest of his work on Blueprint, meant that in a short space of time Ruskin became one of the world’s most in-demand techno DJs. One of the clubs that James started to play in most regularly was Berlin’s Tresor, where he ﬁrst performed at his friend Surgeon’s residency. Through this connection, Ruskin was asked to deliver his second album for the label of the same name. 2000’s ‘Point 2’ saw Ruskin deliver chilling ambience, ferocious, dense club tracks, the Detroit funk of ‘Connected’ and the symphonic strings of ‘Detached’. A more rounded affair than his debut long-played, Ruskin quickly followed ‘Point 2’ with ‘Into Submission’ the next year. A denser, brooding but occasionally melodic and emotive affair, it saw the UK producer moving further from his purist roots. James’s most recent album, last year’s ‘The Dash’ was melancholic and melodic, often understated but never lightweight, Ruskin explored with a variety of tempos and beat structures on ‘The Dash’ and It’s his best long player to date.
Against this backdrop, Ruskin has re-launched Blueprint with the ﬁrst release proper from his new collaborative project, O/V/R, together with Regis aka Karl O’Connor. While the duo had remixed Ruskin’s ‘Lahaine’ last year, the panning, hypnotic techno of their debut EP for the label, ‘Interior’, solidiﬁes their working relationship. Ruskin has also been releasing under his own name on the label and plans to release material by artists outside of the original Blueprint line up as well as further album projects. With more O/V/R material being recorded and plans in place to perform the project live, James Ruskin is once again providing a unique blueprint for techno music.
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