FACT mix 169 is by James Ruskin.
Our man grew up a hip-hop enthusiast, but it wasn’t long before the techno bug took a hold of him, prompting him to found the Blueprint label in 1996 with his friend Richard Polson. Acting as a platform for productions by Ruskin, Polson and fellow Londoner Oliver Ho, and inspired by the raw sound of Underground Resistance and early Downwards, Blueprint quickly established itself as one of the preeminent British techno labels. Surgeon was one of the first DJs to respond to Blueprint’s offerings, recognising a kinship in terms of attitude as well as sonics; inevitably, despite its base in London, Blueprint became bound up with the tough, industrial “Birmingham sound” espoused by Surgeon, Regis, Female et al.
As that sound grew in popularity in international reach, Ruskin – a consummate DJ as well as producer - began a relationship with Berlin club Tresor, regularly playing at the club and recording three highly accomplished albums for its in-house label. The last of these, 2008′s The Dash, was something of an elegy for Blueprint co-founder Richard Polson, who tragically died in 2006. Austere yet remarkably emotive, this album heralded a new wave of artists and releases inspired by the greyscale aesthetic of 90s UK techno and the intense martial funk of Robert Hood and Jeff Mills – indeed, the flowering of Ostgut Ton, Sandwell District and all their ilk was just around the corner.
Fittingly enough, Ruskin recently made his debut on Ostgut Ton, his track ‘Graphic’ appearing on Ben Klock’s Berghain 04 CD and spin-off 12″. Blueprint, meanwhile, is in rude health. After a hiatus spanning most of 2007-2008, Ruskin fired up the engines again last year, putting out a quick succession of 12″s by himself and Valmay. This year has already seen the release of Ruskin and Mark Broom’s No Time Soon EP, and a new 12″ from O/V/R – Ruskin’s fledgling production partnership with Karl O’Connor AKA Regis – is imminent. Robert Hood will also soon make his Blueprint debut with a remix later this year.
Blueprint’s official re-launch party is at London’s Cable club on Saturday 31 July: Ruskin headlines with a DJ set, but there’ll also be live performance from O/V/R (Ruskin & Regis) and a live/DJ turn from Sandwell District (Regis & Function). Mark Broom, Valmay and Oliver Ho (AKA Raudive) complete the no-nonsense line-up. More information and tickets here.
And so we come to the James Ruskin FACT mix. Powering through a whopping 42 tracks in a lean one and three quarter hours, it’s a real techno masterclass, rhythmically diverse, taking in tracks from Ruskin himself as well as contemporary like minds such as Marcel Dettmann, DVS1, Mark Broom, Ben Klock, Traversable Wormhole, Mike Dehnert, Mark Broom and Peter Van Hoesen. There’s a wealth of new and as yet unreleased material featuews, including Ruskin’s remix of Planetary Assault Systems’ ‘GT’ and a new O/V/R, plus sure shots from Detroit dons Jeff Mills, Rob Hood, Kenny Larkin and Dopplereffekt, upfront steppers from Scuba and Al Tourettes, and classics from Aphex Twin, Balil and Underground Resistance. In a word: barnstorming. If, come the one-hour mark, you’re not punching the air or at least biting your lip in appreciation, then you can have all your money back.
Aphex Twin – SAW2 CD1 Track2
Kevin Gorman – 7am Stepper
Marcel Dettman – Captivate
Jesus Jones – Zeros and Ones (Aphex Twin Reconstruction )
Plaid – Booc
O/V/R – Untitled
Terrence Fixmer – Drastic (Planetary Assault Systems Mix)
Gak – Gak 1
James Ruskin – Graphic
Phuture Pfantasy Club – Spank Spank
Emptyset – Gate 3A
DVS1 – Running
Jeff Mills – Belief System
Robert Hood – Self Power
Kenny Larkin – Glob
Hoodlum – Drama
Marcel Dettman – Screen
Kenny Larkin – Glob (Ben Klock Remix)
Scuba – Minerals
Al Tourettes – When I Rust I Rest
Se7en -m0h (Gary Beck Remix)
Silent Servant – Noise Modulation (Kalon Remix)
Jerome Sydenham & Function – Skimming
Mike Parker – Protolanguage
Daniela Stickworth – The Slot (Xhin Remix)
James Ruskin – Massk
Autechre – pce freeze 28i
Mike Dehnert – Eigenbedarf Part 2
Beardman – M6
Zak Khutoretsky – Polyphonic Love
Rhythim Is Rhythim – Nude Photo
KC Flightt – Lets Get Jazzy (Dope Dub Mix)
Planetary Assault Systems – GT (James Ruskin Remix)
Echologist – Dirt (Ben Klock Edit)
Frank Martiniq – Blast Corps
Peter Van Hoesen – Terminal
Dopplereffekt – Rocket Scientist
Traversable Wormhole – Tachyon (James Ruskin Remix)
Traversable Wormhole – Exiting The Milky Way (Surgeon Remix)
Balil – Norte Route
Mark Broom & James Ruskin – Hostage
Underground Resistance – Amazon (4Hero Version)