John Shima :: Renegade (Distant Worlds)

John Shima’s sounds have become more intricate, more patterned, yet he has managed to maintain that deftness of touch which makes him one of the most interesting UK techno producers. Renegade brings something else with it. It brings to light a new imprint, one which seems dedicated to a lesser promoted style of electronics.

John Shima seems to be the kind of man I’d enjoy a pint and a techno talk with. Despite covering one of his first releases, Apoapsis on Arne Weinberg’s now sadly defunct diametic. I haven’t put fingertip to keyboard for the Sheffield artist since. Nevertheless, an ear has been keenly kept on him as Shima’s catalogue of releases grew. His sound is born from the age of classic British IDM and techno, genres I’m only too delighted to wax lyrical about over a pint of porter. No surprise then that one of his most recent 12”s was on Firescope, kindred spirit and B12 member Steven Rutter’s label. A second 2017 release has just arrived on shelves with Shima inaugurating Distant Worlds, a new UK label that aims to receive “transmissions from across the celestial sphere” and translate them into “beautiful techno music for the good people of planet earth.”

Renegade is cut in tried and tested fashion with four tracks on generous proportions making up the EP. The title piece arrives with a flourish of percussion. Clean snapping beats and kicks become a foundation for shifting melodies. Bleeps bend and bubble while soft strings soar in a work harking back to the halcyon days of IDM. “Machine Works,” as the title might suggest, explores a more mechanical motif. The clatter of the factory floor is accentuated, the emptiness of abandoned industrial spaces embellished by an extended intro. Yet this isn’t a dark piece, instead the track is bittersweet rather than heavy or brooding. The entire EP has this quality, it has an airiness and lightness with melodies drifting and reforming with an organic subtlety. “Veloc” is a good example of this. A selection of complementary sounds, all understated, are skillfully interwoven for a piece that changes and curves without meandering away from its core. The marine tones of “Troglodytic” close. Aquatic chords are backed by astral currents for a final voyage.

I might not have been writing about Mr Shima, but I have been listening to him since Apoapsis and the Sheffield man has grown year on year as an artist. His sounds have become more intricate, more patterned, yet he has managed to maintain that deftness of touch which makes him one of the most interesting UK techno producers. Renegade brings something else with it. It brings to light a new imprint, one which seems dedicated to a lesser promoted style of electronics. With releases in the pipeline from Derek Carr, Stephen Lopkin, Mihail P and HOLOVR, Distant Worlds looks like a label to keep a close ear on. Watch the skies, or better yet keep an eye on this new imprint.

Renegade is available on Distant Worlds.

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