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James Shinra
Surface EP
Analogical Force
Catalogue Number
Release Date
October 21, 2022


James Shinra is a true student of the game. As game to talk about formative influences and beloved contemporaries in interviews as he is his own pain-staking creative process, the UK producer almost comes off like a fan first and a musician second. This is no slight to his solo work at all, in fact it’s an endorsement. Capable of conjuring beautiful and emotive soundscapes and system rattling movers in equal measure (sometimes within the same track), Shinra has little use for genre boxes, instead relying on feeling and an inherent enthusiasm to guide his music. This is no different on his latest release, a new EP for Analogical Force entitled Surface.

Surface wastes no time getting into the action with the rollicking opener ‘MILUV.’ Thunderous kicks and claps batter a skittering hi-hat line like a ram until the track goes widescreen with some saw-toothed synth bass and emotive keys peeking just above the horizon. Its running mate on Side A ‘CIRCULAR’ goes a different route by slowly building tension with what sounds like acoustic drums and brightly-hued, heart-stopping synth stabs. The end result hews closer to progressive electronica than anything more suited for the dancefloor. On the flip side, ‘EKKO’ teases a hardcore release with a totally mangled drumbreak that never quite finishes and a midtempo lurch sure to trip up dancers that never quite hits a second gear. Shinra finishes things off with the title track, another slice of downtempo braindance that hints at turbulence without fully succumbing to danger or hedonism. Far from distant, Shinra’s work here instead acts something like a reflection of the stormy times in which it was created. For all the deception, there’s something oddly soothing about these little tricks he plays.

  1. 1 MILUV 1:59
  2. 2 CIRCULAR 1:58
  3. 3 EKKO 1:58
  4. 4 SURFACE 1:58

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