Review: We're not sure that rising star James Shinra has ever released anything quite as inspired as this first EP for Feel My Bicep. Opener "Signs" is superb: a melodious and ear-catching affair that wraps IDM and ambient techno style electronic motifs around a deep, chunky and fluid house groove. "Arc", the track that follows, is similarly minded, with cascading Boards of Canada style melodies and psychedelic electronics bubbling away atop a futuristic house groove. That's given a thoroughly dirty and sleazy bleep techno style makeover by Benjamin Damage before John Beltran offers his interpretations of "Signs". There's the gorgeous deep electro loveliness of the "80s Reset Mix" and the rushing deep house sunshine that is the sublime "Easy Summer Mix".
Review: This is not the first compilation to drop whose sole aim is to raise funds for NHS Chartities Together - R&S Records and Bass Agenda both delivered similarly epic sets - but "Care4Life" may well be the strongest and most diverse. As you'd expect, each one of the 45 tracks is previously unreleased, and the cast list reads like a who's who of dance music culture. Notable highlights include an ultra-deep, saucer-eyed number from Daniel Avery, an unheard rework of the Chemical Brothers' "Catch Me I'm Falling", a superb revision of Harvey's Locussolus project by Kiwi, Matthew Herbert in jazzy broken beat mode, a rare solo outing from Optimo's JD Twitch, a rip-roaring rave workout from Jas Shaw, and thumping peak-time bangers from Dusky, Eats Everything and Patrick Topping.
Review: Since 2006 Permanent Vacation has earned its reputation for releasing some of the best in contemporary house, electro, disco and leftfield music, showcased and celebrated most with their various artist compilations. As lockdown in some parts of the world begins to ease, maybe a sixth Permanent Vacation is in order, which this time introduces a fresh cast to the series with our ears drawn to the abstract dub, drum and rhythm tracks of Bawrut, and Cornelius Doctor & Tushen Rae in the tripped out "The Bukit Have Eyes". Smallville's main man in Paris Jacques Bon turns in a stair-sailing synth number of breezy, uplifting house in "Reverse Flight", with techier drums and club tracks coming from DJ Kuesse ("Tropicana Girl") and the au courant electro sounds of Eliott Litrowski's "Spray", and Sedef's Adasi's "Tender Trip" a highlight too.