TheLetterElectronic Music Guide

Sigha - Metabolism
52
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Stippled soundscapes, fogged-in under swathes of murky hue give way to flashes of verisimilitude, these short-lived moments of melody hastily ragged away as if initially made in error. Is it Techno? Is it Ambient? Is it dancefloor? Is it headphone? The answer is a resounding yes!

As the Techno canvas we gaze upon daily continues to morph and evolve before our eyes, what was once Lucian Freud has distorted into Jackson Pollock. But recent masterpieces from Monoloc, Time Traveler and Orphx prove that this type of uncategorisable album has a vibrant future — a line of thought given further credence on hearing Metabolism, the second LP from James Shaw, aka Sigha, who exhibits twelve compositions of subtle beauty where delicate crosshatch Techno meets scumbly Ambient, each a beautifully crafted objet d'art in a carefully curated collection.

So, anyone expecting the cold, blank layers that defined Shaw's debut Living With Ghosts (on Scuba's Hotflush Recordings) or the dense monochromatic mark-making he developed as A Vision Of Love (on Guy Brewer’s Avian label) may be surprised to discover so much light and space on his new album. Representational and abstract parity sit in the foreground of a landscape deep of field and complex in nature, and is best exemplified in the whirring tension of Interior next to the restorative Her; both pieces perfectly encapsulating the vivid spectrum of colours that make up Shaw's inspired instrumental palette; an element accentuated further in the overt titles, like Stabbing or Suffocate versus Porcelain or Morning Star. There's even one called Positive Mutilation!

Only the absence of a softly sung vocal, like a defiant brushstroke of vermillion, stops Shaw from dramatically widening his fan base — which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, would it?

8/10 after 21 listens

The album is out today on Token Records.

Sigha - Metabolism

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