Published Feb 22, 2017Metabolism, London-based producer James Shaw's second full-length as Sigha, is another compelling exercise in darkly elegant techno. Full of incredibly deep bass and meticulously engineered high-end frequencies, it satisfies both as a dance record as well as a more academic deconstruction of the genre's core elements. It may be too conceptual at times for some, but it's a sophisticated piece of work by any measure.
Richard D. James once famously described his desire to recreate, in a track, the experience of being in a power station while on acid, and Shaw often achieves this level of religious immersion on Metabolism — especially if you have a good pair of headphones. If the warp engine of the starship Enterprise could be rewired as a subwoofer, its bass would sound similar to the deep pulse of "Black Massing," for instance, and the crackling high ends of "Morning Star" sound like the aural equivalent of electricity licking at your ears. This pairing of subterranean bass with subtly shifting washes of intricate, high-frequency white noise is the defining concept of Metabolism, and Shaw explores the idea thoroughly — perhaps too thoroughly, for those not fully invested in the project's aim.
His commitment is admirable, though, as are the results. The album has a mature, unified sound made more distinct via its lack of traditional instrumentation. Aside from the occasional hi-hat clipped almost beyond recognition, you won't hear the sound of many recognizable percussion instruments on Metabolism — just bass and treble, expertly crafted from the raw. (Token Records)