Although he was born in London, it wasn't until he moved north to Manchester and founded the Hoya:Hoya club night in 2008 that the experimental electronic music of Illum Sphere (Ryan Hunn) began to reach a modest audience. Once the night — organized in conjunction with fellow Manchester-based DJ Jonny Dub — made the transition from an occasional event to a regular fixture of the scene, Hunn was invited to release a series of singles on the Fat City label, including a track for their Producer series on the flip side of a split 7" with California artist Mono/Poly. This led to a 2010 EP for Dutch producer Martyn's 3024 imprint, before Hunn fulfilled a lifelong dream by co-founding a label. "Sweat the Descent" was the lead track on the first 12" to be released on the Hoya:Hoya label, which surfaced in November 2010. Another dream was fulfilled the following summer when Radiohead issued an Illum Sphere remix of their King of Limbs track "Codex."
While most of his earlier material had flirted with awkward, playful rhythms, his 2012 EP for Young Turks, Birthday, was aimed squarely at the dancefloor. In late 2013, a remix of "Bluebell Fields," an album track by the Manchester-based, Verve-inspired indie act MONEY, appeared online ahead of an announcement that Illum Sphere had been signed to Ninja Tune. The single "Sleeprunner" was issued that December in advance of the haunting debut album Ghosts of Then & Now, which arrived in February 2014. Later that year, he delivered a Fabric mix inspired by his nights spinning at Hoya:Hoya. Hunn also created a mix for the Dekmantel podcast, but his output slowed as he refined his sound. The Spectre Vex and Second Sight singles hinted at the stark yet atmospheric territory of his second full-length, Glass, which Ninja Tune released in late 2016. ~ James Wilkinson