James Ruskin ‎– Prelude

Blueprint ‎– BP 010
Vinyl, 12", 33 ⅓ RPM


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March 5, 2018
A1 is the reason why this wax should be bought... super monotone, but only on the outside... listen to all the fine nuances changing and the ill hypnotic whirlpool this track is pushing you into...


May 23, 2011
A2 and B1 are minimal tribal tracks, easygoing flow, not too many layers included and shorn of industrial influences, and the frequently dark feel of the label's output. The progression is pretty unostentatious, monotonous in the word's true essence yet lacking any real depth or intrigue.
The experiments with synth keys are basically absent (heavily deployed on the staggering early Oliver Ho output), and the emphasis is predominantly put on the percussion. There is no elaborate attempt at implementing different tonal paths, pitch shifts or testing out atypical track structures and arrangements. The beats don't get 'shuffled' with disturbances and interruptions of the regular flow of rhythm, and there isn't a single placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur. Not that I generally mind, but it prevents the music from ever breaking out of the techno utensil frame.
The passages used on the first three tracks are not involving enough, and the overall feel "Prelude" leaves me with is that it isn't as determined as a lot of subsequent Ruskin/Outline work. That said, potential listeners might be scared off, but my experience has always been that more people are acquainted with stuff like his "Take Control", "Circuit", "Conspiracy" EPs or his sophomore album "Into Submission" than with this unfledged work. Not to leave the wrong impression, lackluster it ain't, but it is not all peaches and cream either, like a lot of his more venerated material. A thought to keep in mind is that he got seriously better from this point on.

While it is unquestionably a fine introductory performance, it isn't a piece of wax one would bring up in a discussion if he were on a mission to present James Ruskin as one of the pivotal figures in the long line of UK's amazing techno producers. As a, let's call it that, preliminary design, this one works just fine, but it is not really a 12" that would convince you to keep on buying other releases on the label. If you really want to dig deeper into the early Blueprint crates, I would suggest starting with any of the following: the Oliver Ho EPs "The Gathering" and "Duality", or the Outline gems "Examined Life" and "Blueprint 5".
Favorite track is quite probably B2. Slickly situated in the comfortable higher end of 130s BPM range, driven by a fine satiating bass line, contagious side chain effects and background hand clap drums complementary to the first line percussion all make it a solid groover if and when dropped in a timely manner.