Looking to book Lackluster / Esa Ruoho / HLER? Email booking@lackluster.org

Lackluster Data:Wave jam + interview now available

Data:Wave interviewed Lackluster / Esa Ruoho a while ago, and here is the interview:

And Data:Wave also got an exclusive mix from me, and that one is here:

Hope you enjoy these!

HLER cover

HLER: LGM-1: Side-Line Reviews

Genre/Influences: Experimental, dark-ambient, cinematographic, abstract.
Format: Digital, CDR, Cassette.

Background/Info: HLER is the meeting between Finnish artists Heikki Lindgren and Esa Ruoho. The initials of their respective names inspired the name of the project. Notice by the way the album has been released on ZeroK, which is a new subdivision of the Italian label Unexplained Sounds Group. The label is ‘focused on deep and cinematic experimental ambient, along with a nod to scientific exploration and experimentation, as well as moods and feelings evoked by sci-fi imagery’.

Content: The album takes off with a real overwhelming noisy dark sound wave. There’s a strong and anguished dark mood hanging over the work, which remains constant. You can also recognize field recordings and different kinds of manipulated noises and effects injecting some little sonic details reinforcing the mysterious mood of the work. It sometimes feels like a sonic corridor without real exit. You can hear space signals, which are mainly accentuated in the last part of the work. The tracks are pretty long, revealing a slow progression.

+ + + : You rapidly get the impression of diving into an abyssal sphere leading to explore hidden secrets and lost mysteries. HLER has this power to tickle your imagination leading you into a dark and hostile inner world. It’s a dark trip throughout a fiction world featuring multiple little crispy noises and astral sound treatments. But this universe also reflects a sensation of loneliness, which is masterly accomplished at “PSR J1023+0038”.

- - - : Different passages reflect some monotony, being a bit too linear. I’m afraid that’s often what you might experience listening to this kind of music, but I think some of these passages could be a little bit more diversified.

Conclusion: HLER brings us an interesting sonic experience mixing darkness and fiction.

Best songs: “PSR J1023+0038”, “PSR J1836+5925”.
Rate: (7).

HLER cover

HLER: LGM-1: AmbientBlog Review

HLER combines the initials of this duo: Heikki Lindgren and Esa Ruoho. They file their music under ‘improvised noise, clicks, hums, drone, a captured submarine humming in the hangar of a space station, “Are you sure you guys are alright and that the cables work?”‘ (that last quote is theirs, not mine).
It’s not mentioned what instruments were used for LGM-1, but according to their own bio most of the sounds originate from a second-hand Peruvian Mochika XL synthesizer which proved to be a unique source for live performances, because “it was almost impossible to recreate the exact same sound twice.

But perhaps for this album, another kind of basic material was used…we can’t be sure since details about this are not given…
LGM-1 is inspired by a strange phenomenon coming from outer space: so-called fast radio bursts, bursts of energy that shine for only a few milliseconds but release about a million times more energy than the sun. They were discovered in 2007, but until now no-one knows what they are.

“(They do not come from just anywhere in space. They are from outside our galaxy, maybe as far as billions of light years away, according to initial measurements of a phenomenon called the “dispersion effect”. Radio bursts could be a sign of strange and new physics.”

From the beginning of the album, the outer-space-drones are quite overwhelming, conveying the pure energy of the PSR’s (Pulse Sound Recordings, I guess). The massive sounds works best if played loud! It’s a sound to indulge in, since it seems to contain fragment of hidden secrets from outer space. Secrets that are impossible to grasp. Yet.

LGM-1 is released on ZeroK: a sublabel of the Unexplained Sounds Group, “focused on deep and cinematic experimental ambient, along with a nod to scientific exploration and experimentation, as well as moods and feelings evoked by sci-fi imagery.”

The physical editions (cassette or CDr) are now sold out. But the good news is that with the digital downloads you get no less than 110 minutes of stunning space drones, more than could be fitted on CDr or cassette.

Lackluster: Container: Donal Dineen's Sunken Treasures Review (Irish Times)

Esa Ruoho began releasing records out of his Helsinki home studio in 1995. It was a pivotal time for undergound electronic music generally and one where the power base was noticably moving away from the centre towards ever more remote corners of the globe.
Back then, the tectonic plates were shifting in dramatic fashion. A new order was on the rise with self-sufficient producers beginning to reap the rewards of the DIY boom.

There was a flurry of activity undergrond and an explosion of new stars above it. Lights were going on all over the place. The bedroom soldiers were finally bringing the heat in earnest, using new fangled software to bypass the studio system entirely. The power was shifting back to the individual and a quiet revolution was brewing. The possibilities seemed endless.
Suddenly, up pops Finland on the dial and out pours the mesmerising sound of Lackluster and the album Container. What a beautiful noise to behold. It resonated with a gentle softness pre- viously unheard. Here was an example of how the understated could be reconfigured to pack quite a punch.
Ruoho crafted something fresh and original from generic music-production home-computer software. Despite appearances, this wasn’t easy. The easier it is to make noise, the harder it get’s to come up with a truly original sound, but Ruoho managed with aplomb. The source of Container was no surprise. There was a huge spike in the volume of electronic music coming from the colder corners of the Scandanavian north at that particular point. By the time Container was released at the turn of the millenium the Northern Lights were outshining almost everyone. Lackluster’s music stood out so effervescently you could nearly say it glowed. It’s a message worth getting.

Lackluster 50% off code 'unexpected', valid till 4th of April 2020

Lackluster Bandcamp code "unexpected" 50% off till 4th april 2020.

Why? Because 4th april 2020 was supposed to be a gig but it got cancelled. (i know, cry me a river. but the income from the sales go into mastering + remastering materials and result in new releases)