It’s been nearly five years since Sigha released his debut album ‘Living with Ghosts’ on Hotflush Recordings. Since then, the UK artist has been behind a string of successful records on a number of labels, and he’s in high demand as a DJ, being well known for his brooding, powerful sets.
Alongside his hectic schedule, Sigha, real name James Shaw, has been working on his second album, and it’s now set for release in February on Token. Metabolism, a 12 track double LP, sees Shaw take a new approach to the deep and detailed sound for which he’s known, the music shifts effortlessly from abstract ambience and electronica to heavier, more rhythmic club tracks.
The album leads with Suffocate, an almost cinematic piece; the repetition and disparity between the elements convey an immediate sense of tension. Sparse sections of reverb washes and licks of static white noise are shattered by crushing kick drums. The track fades out to silence at the halfway point, and returns with a cacophony of detuned strings and whines of feedback.
Contrast seems to be an important theme on Metabolism, and this is made evident by the third track, Stabbing. A filtered arpeggio is paired with drifting, swinging percussion and splatterings of acid. A sonorous low end underpins the track, and carries it forward as percussive elements flow in and out, and subtle atmospheric layers skirt the stereo field.
Shaw has always been held in high regard as a sound designer, and Metabolism is a shining example of his uncanny attention to detail. This is especially apparent on the album’s penultimate track, Positive Mutilation. Despite being the shortest track on the album, clocking in at under two minutes, it’s one of the most carefully crafted and detailed. Rattling hi hats stutter backwards and forwards while rising siren tones, snippets of melody and what sound like mangled vocals alternately bubble to the surface, only to be quickly stifled by distortion and bass.
Sigha finishes proceedings with Porcelain (Ideal), another short piece, this time with ethereal pads and tonal beeps carried atop a bed of heavy, grinding white noise and muted kick drums. It’s this kind of dichotomy that really defines what is so endearing about Metabolism, and to an extent much of Shaw’s work. This is an album that carefully treads the line between dance music and experimental electronica, and it’s a testament to his abilities as a producer that he’s been able to create an album that just as suitable for playing out in the clubs as it is for listening at home with headphones.
Metabolism will be out on February 24th on Token.