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For the album by Aaron Sprinkle, see Lackluster (album).
Background information
Birth name Esa Juhani Ruoho
Also known as Lackluster, Esa Ruoho, XLLV, Can'o'Lard, You-Honey
Born (1978-10-26) October 26, 1978 (age 35)
Origin Helsinki, Finland
Genres IDM, ambient, downtempo, tracker-music, chiptune, chillout
Occupations Musician
Instruments Computer, laptop, synthesizer, tracker, sequencer
Years active 1994–present
Labels deFocus, Merck Records, U-Cover Records, SLSK Records, Psychonavigation Records
Associated acts Kökö and the Köks, Newcomer, EET

Lackluster is the main stage name of Esa Juhani Ruoho (born October 26, 1978), who has also recorded as Esa Ruoho, Can'o'Lard, Kökö and the Köks and XLLV.[1] Lackluster is formerly known as the chiptune musician, Distance, part of the demoscene groups Orange, Monotonik, Calodox, The Digital Artists, The Planet of Leather Moomins (TPOLM), FLO and Satori.[2] Lackluster also ran a Bulletin Board System, Cloudcity, from 1992 to 2000 – utilizing HectoBBS (1992), SuperBBS (1992–1994) and PCBoard (1994–2000) BBS Software.[3]

Ruoho has lived most of his life in Helsinki, Finland, but has also, since 2000, travelled to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada for six months in 2000–2001[4] and also spent time in Dublin, Ireland.[5] For the past 23 years he has been lodging in Kontula, a district of Eastern Helsinki.

Musical career[edit]

Esa Ruoho started composing electronic music in the mid-1990s and, after 2000 has been releasing recorded music (remixes, compilation-tracks, original work) on dozens of labels, full-length CDs on such labels as deFocus records (Great Britain), Merck Records (Miami, Florida, U.S.),[6] U-cover (Belgium),[7] Psychonavigation Records (Dublin, Ireland), New-Speak Records (Stockholm, Sweden).[1] He has since 2007 worked with SLSK Records from San Francisco and Nice And Nasty from Ireland, the San Francisco-based netlabel TwoCircles Records and the Argentinian netlabel Igloo-Rec. Lackluster is currently an unsigned artist.[8]

Live performances[edit]

Since 2000, Ruoho has played numerous musical performances in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland, England, Austria, Poland, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Ukraine. Current tally: 115 live gigs (as of 9 December 2012).[8][9] Ruoho has also played as warm-up support for numerous luminaries such as Biosphere, Petri Kuljuntausta, The Orb, Mixmaster Morris, Brothomstates, Aleksi Perälä/Astrobotnia/Ovuca, Cylob, Wevie Stonder, Machinedrum, Jimmy Edgar, Move D and Bad Loop.

Media collaborations[edit]

  • Utopias of Helsinki, a web report for Helsingin Sanomat "What would Helsinki be like now, if all of the grandiose city-utopias of the 1960s had come to fruition?" (composition)(2001)[10]
  • Pauli Ojala (a Finnish graphics artist) on "13/10/99", a short music video which was presented at the Assembly 2001 Wild demo competition, placing 4th.[11]
  • Company (website), "", providing an in-house shockwave animation with soundfx + rhythms (2002)
  • Wilma Mehtonen (a Finnish choreographer) "Ulottumaton Symbioosi" (2002).
  • Halcyon (demogroup) DVD, providing in-menu composition(2002)
  • Wilma Mehtonen "T.43" modern dance-performance (2003).
  • Teemu Niskanen (a Finnish photographer) on a web-slideshow project (2006).[12]
  • Thuyen Nguyen: "The Most Powerful Person in the World" – May 16, 2007.[13]
    • Synopsis: A love letter to video games.
  • Luca Barbeni (designer) on "dune.8081", a flash website, 2007.[14]
  • Mari Helisevä (painter) on "Luontaisenkaltaisia", an art installation featuring a musical mixture of kitchen-recorded materials, displayed at Maa-Tila, Helsinki, Finland, 9 to 20 January 2008.[15]
  • Thuyen Nguyen: "Same as it ever was" – February 29, 2008.[13]
    • Synopsis: Video game critics use the same arguments against gaming as they did for movies, television, comics, books.[8]
  • scheltema/van beem NEPCO/ILC: "Headfooters", 2008[8]
    • Synopsis: Cutesy headfoot monsters jump around to the sound of "Hugytrak" off of Lackluster: Slice (released on U-Cover)
  • Antti Mutta/Pelaaja-Lehti (Journalist) on "Korg DS-10", a review, Pelaaja-Lehti September/2009 (2009)[16][17]

Work with Photographers[edit]


  • Marko (Finland)
  • Teemu Niskanen (Finland)
  • Lauri Rauhanen (Finland)
  • Melissa Doran (Ireland)
  • Evgeniy Kazannik (UK)
  • Soili Mustapää (Finland)

Other interests[edit]

Ruoho also has a striking interest in the thoughts, discoveries and concepts of Walter Russell, Buckminster Fuller, Viktor Schauberger, Wilhelm Reich, John Keely, John Bedini and any related nature and intuition-based information, such as Earthship technology, the Dymaxion map, Dymaxion Chronofile, and Biomimicry. . In 2008 Ruoho became a lifetime Friend of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust, and also a supporting Citizen of The Solar Village.[8] Ruoho / Lackluster is also a hemp, medical marijuana, cannabis activist.[8][18] Kiva and Kickstarter and other crowdfunding methods also fit in this category.

Interests and releases[edit]

  • In 2005, Ruoho released "Zero Million Barrels of Oil Per Day" on Monotonik netlabel as a MP3, as a statement of intent for the planet to reach for alternative energy technologies.[1][19]
  • In 2005, Ruoho released "What You Want Isn't What You Need" on Newspeak Records on CD, the linenotes state "Please stop legislation telling us what natural supplements, vitamins and nutrients we can eat and what we cannot. Please stop codex alimentarius." This was Ruoho's comment on Codex Alimentarius.[20]
  • In 2007, Ruoho released "Repulsine EP" on SLSK Records on CD, a tribute to Viktor Schauberger, with artwork containing photographies of Viktor Schauberger's face and imagery of the Repulsine device patents and assorted photography.[1]
  • In 2007, Ruoho released "The Stationary Trout Ep" on Part2 Records as MP3, the name inspired from Viktor Schauberger and the writings of Callum Coats. "The Stationary Trout Ep" also contained a song called "Monsanto Corporation", which was Ruoho's take on the works of Monsanto Company.[1]
  • In 2009, Ruoho released "Cold Trail EP" on March 23, on the 20th anniversary of the Pons-Fleischmann Cold Fusion announcement.
  • In 2009, Ruoho contributed "Liop Mehch’t! Nosp Misc Kir" to Axis of Amity, a Centrifuge compilation for raising money for the Macmillan Cancer Support-charity, the track title, however, is reversed, referring to Rick Simpson's THC Hemp Oil cure for cancer.[1]
  • In 2009, Ruoho photographed and recorded portions of his visit to the Steorn Waterways Demonstration Centre in Dublin, Ireland, and became the first composer of electronica to openly associate with the global Free Energy community.[21]
  • In 2010, continuing with the electrical theme, Ruoho was commissioned to provide background music for the Finero company - an electrical test and measurement equipment and software manufacturing electronics company.
  • In 2010, Ruoho photographed his visit to the Nikola Tesla exhibit at TKK, Espoo, Finland.[21]
  • In 2010, Ruoho photographed and recorded portions of his visit to the Viktor Schauberger Museum in Bad Ischl, Austria, and also the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, Serbia, further cementing his connection with the Free Energy community.[21]
  • In 2011, Ruoho contributed "Fgxjklö" to Truth Serum, a compilation by I, Absentee records, for raising money for UNICEF and The Humane Society of the United States.[1]
  • In 2011, Ruoho publicized the "Dynaspheres for Europe"-project by naming a track "Dynaspheres" and making it available freely (with a link to the donation-page) on SoundCloud.[22]
  • In 2011, Ruoho publicized the "Buckminster Fuller Dome Home restoration"-project by naming a track "Be the Trim Tab" and making it available freely (with a link to the donation-page) on SoundCloud.[22]
  • In 2012, Ruoho released "On The Hangar of Spaceship Earth" on the 156th birthday of Nikola Tesla - the album's name is also inspired by Buckminster Fuller.
  • In 2011, Ruoho contributed '5881777 Apparatus For Producing Ozone" to Tesla 155, a Zimmer Records&Co. compilation commemorating the 155th birthday of Nikola Tesla.
  • In 2012, Ruoho wrote and published an article on water and Viktor Schauberger in Minä Olen, a Finnish new-age magazine.
  • In 2012, Ruoho released "On The Hangar of Spaceship Earth", on the 156th Birthday of Nikola Tesla. The name of the record is also a tribute to Buckminster Fuller.


  • 1999 – Album – "CDR#2" (CDr) Monotonik
  • 2000 – EP – "FOC349" (LP) deFocus
  • 2000 – Album – "Container" (CD,LP) deFocus
  • 2000 – EP – "R U Oho?" (LP) deFocus
  • 2000 – EP – "Rikos005" (LP) Rikos Records
  • 2001 – Album – "Spaces" (CD) U-Cover (as Esa Ruoho)
  • 2001 – EP – "Spaces" (LP) Inc.US (as Esa Ruoho)
  • 2001 – EP – "Zealectronic Purple" (LP) Zeal
  • 2001 – EP – "One-Offs" (NET) Monotonik
  • 2002 – EP – "A Lackluster Sampler" (LP) Merck
  • 2002 – EP – "Wrapping Album Sampler" (LP) deFocus
  • 2002 – Album – "Wrapping" (CD, LP) deFocus
  • 2003 – Album – "Showcase" (CD) Merck
  • 2003 – EP – "None of That" (NET) Binkcrsh (as Can'O'Lard)
  • 2003 – LP – "None of What" (NET) Corewatch (as Can'O'Lard)
  • 2003 – EP – "Not An EP" (NET) Corewatch
  • 2003 – EP – "You Are On My Mind" (NET) Monotonik
  • 2004 – EP – "Showcase Sampler" (LP) Merck
  • 2004 – Album – "Remixselection_one" (CD) Psychonavigation
  • 2004 – EP – "R U Oho?" (LP) Merck
  • 2005 – Album – "Slice" (CD) U-Cover
  • 2005 – Album – "What You Want Isn't What You Need" (CD) Newspeak Records
  • 2006 – EP – "Lax EP" (NET) Digilog
  • 2007 – EP – "Repulsine EP" (CD) SLSK Records
  • 2007 – EP – "The Stationary Trout" (NET) Part2 Records
  • 2008 – Album – "Places" (CDr) Grundruck Records (as Esa Ruoho)
  • 2009 – EP – "Aeration" (NET) TwoCircles Records
  • 2009 – EP – "Cold Trail" (NET) Acroplane Recordings
  • 2009 – EP – "Proof of Concept" (NET) Yuki Yaki Recordings
  • 2009 – EP – "The Flows" (NET) Part2 Records
  • 2009 – EP – "Portal" (NET) Cornwarning
  • 2009 – EP – "Scattered Harvest" (NET) Format-Noise
  • 2011 - EP - "Remixed" (DIGITAL) Nice & Nasty Records
  • 2011 - EP - "Detro" (DIGITAL) Nice & Nasty Records
  • 2011 - EP - "Kaneel/Lackluster Split 3"" (CDr) Awkward Silence recordings
  • 2011 - Album - "The Invisible Spanish Inquisition" (CD) Igloo Pop Records
  • 2011 - EP - "Riversmouth" (3" CD-r) Attenuation Circuit
  • 2012 - Album - "On The Hangar of Spaceship Earth" (NET) Mahorka Net-Label


List of software used by Lackluster[edit]

List of artists remixed by Lackluster[edit]

Ceniq, OTR[disambiguation needed], Beck (illicit), Thug, Laurent Garnier (illicit), Marumari, Machine Drum, Multiplex, Proem, Ilkae, Sleepy Town Manufacture, EEDL, Korpi Ensemble, Manta, (env)Itre, Kschzt, Blamstrain, Antennae, Global Goon, Tiki Obmar, Diskreet, Paolo Veneziani, Keef Baker, Joseph Auer, Anne Garner, Elephant Pixel, RA-X, Kilowatts, Aleksi Eeben, Strand & Non-Genetic (1/3 of Shadowhuntaz), HECQ. Hereticks of Disko, Robert Graff, Paul Mac, Tomi Chair, Produse, Mick Chillage, Xurba, Dilo, Anodyne, Brawdcast, Metamatics, Mantrakid, The Ebert Bros.[1][8]

List of artists who have remixed Lackluster[edit]

Bauri, Brothomstates, Esem, Xhale (Erik Skodvin, Xhale=Deaf Center), Sense, Numerical, Birdcage, Nachklangmusik & Remlab and Phasen.[1][8]

List of collaborations/appearances[edit]

  • Brothomstates: Kobn-Tich-Ey: Mr. Y (ringmodulated beginning scream)
  • Brothomstates: Claro (brothomstates ipxen) (original song)
  • Blamstrain: Disfold: Frame Math (additional electronics)
  • Blamstrain: Select Ambient Dub Works 06-09: Pride Pigs (synthwork)



Lackluster is taken from "Pyramids" by Terry Pratchett (Discworld series), encountered 1996–1997.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Esa Ruoho at". 
  2. ^ "TPOLM roster".  "Monotonik roster".  "Your account". pouë website. Retrieved 11 October 2010.  "Distance/Orange Demography". 
  3. ^ "Private communique". 
  4. ^ Grooves Magazine #5, FAQT Magazine #5, Zealectronic Purple Biography
  5. ^ 2005 hotpress interview, Foggy notions interview (2005)
  6. ^ Merck records website, numerous interviews
  7. ^ U-cover website
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Lackluster website". 
  9. ^ "Lackluster gig list". 
  10. ^ "Helsingin Utopiat". 
  11. ^ "Assembly website". 
  12. ^ "Teemu niskanen site". 
  13. ^ a b " website". 
  14. ^ " website". 
  15. ^ "Maa-tila". 
  16. ^ "Korg DS-10 Synthesizer - arvostelu". Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  17. ^ "Suomen kuumin peliaiheinen podcast on täällä". Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  18. ^ "Relevant BCN Interview of Lackluster (2011)". Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  19. ^ "Latest Monotonik release". 2005-09-25. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  20. ^ "Lackluster - What You Want Isn’t What You Need". Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  21. ^ a b c "Esaruoho Flickr sets". 
  22. ^ a b c Private communique

External links[edit]