James Ruskin: 20 years of Blueprint Records

Mr Ruskin guides us through the milestone releases and musical progression of his defining techno label

Feature by James Ruskin | 07 Apr 2016

Outline – First Contact
[BP001, 1996]

I guess we have to go back to the beginning. This is where it all started for Blueprint after myself and Richard Polson had released a couple of records, then decided to take control of what we were doing and start our own label. This EP was recorded in the second half of 1995 and its release really was the beginning of a monumental change in our lives.

Oliver Ho – Cosmetics
[BP006, 1997]

Oliver came on board with us very early on – so early, in fact, that we hadn’t even released anything! I sold him a story of what we were planning after a chance meeting, and after that Oliver became an integral part of our development. This is his second EP for Blueprint and has this angular brutality to it that I love.

James Ruskin – Transition
[BP008, 1997]

This was the first time I had put together a solo release. Richard had begun Surface Records and we had both been working on new material separately for the first time. It was always our plan to continue with the Outline project, but for various reasons we didn’t get it together. We were still sharing the same studio at the time so we really should have done.

James Ruskin – Further Design
[BPLP1, 1998]

This was my first album and my first look into working beyond the constraints of a 12''. It was recorded in the latter part of 1997 and when I think back to the equipment used it really brings home the notion that less is more. I had just purchased a Latronic Notron sequencer and it was one of the very first made. The guy that built it used to come over to explain how to use the thing as the initial manual was indecipherable. The whole album was put together with this... not a computer in sight!

The 65D Mavericks – Defining the Symptom
[BP022, 2002]

This was a very significant release as it marked a return to Blueprint for Richard under his new guise with Nick Dunton. Double packs were far more prominent back then and I always liked the format, as it allowed you to keep the thread of a project that wasn’t intended to be an album. I think this is a record that has really stood the test of time.

O/V/R – Interior
[BP025, 2009]

This record marked the next phase for Blueprint after a sabbatical for several years. Although myself and Karl [Regis] had been touring under the O/V/R banner for quite a while this was the first time we had taken the project to the next logical step and got in the studio together. It wasn’t until this record was finished that it felt it was time to move into the next phase of Blueprint and continue what we had started.

O/V/R – Post-Traumatic Son
[BP030, 2010]

This was a project that kept growing and growing until we ended up with a four-vinyl boxset. What I love about this release is the cohesion between music and the visual interpretation. The photography totally captured the claustrophobic nature of the music and that is something that can be very hard to achieve. When it was completed I hoped people saw the whole package rather than any snapshot.

Lakker – Arc EP
[BP034, 2012]

This is probably the first time I had approached an artist out of my circle asking for a release. There is something about Ian and Dara’s music that I can’t put my finger on, but it always intrigues and excites me… always! The two 12"s they recorded for Blueprint are real highlights for me. Observing whilst being in some way involved in their journey has been great.

James Ruskin joins a stellar line-up at Mantra Warehouse for Meat Free presents: 20 Years of Blueprint Records on 16 Apr