Esa Ruoho releases
Describing the sound of Esa Ruoho's music is a task a full of vivid adjectives, but it never comes to mind to call any of it lackluster - the name, that this talented, young Finnish electronic music artist has chosen for himself.
At the same time challenging and rewarding, Lackluster's music is full of texture and organic quality that many electronic artists seem to have lost in the pre-millenium tension and the urge to slice and divide sound. Melodic sounds are woven in layers, rhythm grows and reacts in harmony instead of pretentious chaos. Lackluster is the sound of modern architecture colliding with the intricate beauty of nature.
Hailing from the gray reality of the nation's capital Helsinki, Lackluster aka Esa Ruoho is more familiar with concrete buildings and suburban life, than the vast forests, numerous lakes and icy cold snow that most people connect Finland to.i
Looking back, it seems clear now that Esa Ruoho would end up composing music for living. Starting with a meager set-up of a computer, soundcard and a simple sequencing software, it all started innocently enough with fooling around with samples and trying to piece together anything resembling a proper track. With no musical education and no experience whatsoever from playing instruments the road wasn't easy, yet at the same time there was no academic boundaries, which often block artists from trying something new. Driven by the need to learn and develop, Esa Ruoho composed over 300 original tracks over the period of five years.
Even though Esa Ruoho had been excessively spreading his music over various electronic channels such as bulletin board systems and internet, it was only after five years of practicing half in public and half privately, that Esa Ruoho felt like sorting the best of his work and pressing them on CDs. Named after the used media, CDR#1 and CDR#2 were both pressed in limited numbers and sold out immediately thanks to Lackluster's already impressive underground fame. Both CDs are still in request and doing rounds in mp3 format among the fans.
Lackluster's first real album and recording contract was conceived through Claire Poulton's DeFocus-label. Container received excellent feedback, both from the press and the electronic music afocianodos. Container was followed by Wrapping, the last album for DeFocus. Both albums were still more or less compilations of slightly older material. Recording under his birth name, Lackluster, also released a darkly beautiful ambient concept album for Belgian label U-Cover. It was sold out very fast, partly because of limited pressing policy of U-Cover's ambient album range.
While many fans and reviewers who follow the IDM (intelligent dance music) scene have a tendency for blaming artists for copying others, it says a lot that Lackluster's uniquely melancholic and tender sound has never gained any similar accusations.
Currently Lackluster is promoting his new album, Showcase, which is another step forward in his career. Coming out on US-based label, Merck, Showcase delivers yet another delicate compilation of Lackluster's trademark sound combined with a slightly tighter and harder production. In addition to the new album, Esa Ruoho is doing remixes for various labels and artists, composing music for a modern dance piece as well as throwing gigs all around the globe.
All 4 tracks are jammed together between 24/11/2000 - 25/11/2000 right before embarking on a 6 month trip to canada (which was to result in the birth of the ambient-drone album Spaces.