Our Circula Sound / Blueprint
Sigha has been exploring the relationship between functionality & high art in the Techno genre for some time now.
James Shaw emerged out of London’s burgeoning post-Dubstep scene in 2009, a series of carefully executed releases offering early insight into the producer’s long-lasting preoccupation with intricate sound design & rich tonal finish.
At the heart of the artist’s contemporary work is the notion of process – of humanistic development & ritual catharsis through repetition. A binding component of Shaw’s artistic premise is an arcane spirituality – the restrained maximalism & cavernous depth of recent dance floor material draws as much from traditional places of worship as it does from the heady, Brutalist architecture of Europe’s finest clubbing spaces. Fixed at the base by booming low end, warping white noise signals pitch & bend about the sonic periphery and the rising, emotive leads that have since become a hallmark of his work, lift the music above & beyond the sum of its parts.
In tandem to Shaw’s craft as a producer lies notable skill as both a DJ and live performer. Sets channel the same unyielding energy as the artist’s own recorded work, shifting in equal measure between a phasing, elongated mixing style & moments of intuitive dynamism to build a powerful tension on the dance floor. Live shows see Sigha take many of the instruments vital to his production process on the road, tempering complex modular synthesis with a handful of carefully selected drum machines & FX units to offer audiences a cohesive & thoroughly modern take on the live Techno performance.
Over the years, well articulated alias’s have helped flesh out Sigha’s vision of a space where the romantic ideals of post-Rock & New Wave can exist in the same environment as driven, Industrial Techno, Noise & wide-angle Drone. As a A Vision of Love Shaw explored wrought iron mechanics on a two part series for Guy Brewer’s Avian label, and work as Faugust offered an insight into the artist’s more explicitly cerebral leanings with a collection of proto-Shoegaze recordings.
As Sigha, an alliance with James Ruskin’s legendary Blueprint label – sometime home to scene stalwarts Surgeon & Oliver Ho, bore a brace of expansive constructs drawing on a rich lineage of modern, propulsive Techno. A Series of Desecrations, released via the producer’s own Our Circular Sound imprint, is perhaps the most systematic refinement of his more overtly aggressive work – eschewing characteristic high fidelity recording processes in favour of a dry, caustic finish, painting a pure & unadulterated portrait of the genre as functional club fare.
Further releases via the Avian label hone in on this bipartite approach to production aesthetic. 2014’s The Purification Loops riffs on elements of Shaw’s most assertive work – driven, drum-machine hits providing the backbone of the recordings, while white hot noise blasts punch in & out of the arrangements. Furtive drones & careful use of reverb provide some juncture between this material and Techno Derivatives, released the following year on the label. The extended EP offers a more introspective examination of both the artist’s own discography, and the genre itself. As the name suggests, the music draws on recognisable posits of the wider Techno canon – but looks to confound traditional ideas regarding form & structure. Kick drums are either buried fathoms deep in the mix, omnipresent & rolling – or simply non-existent, while synth lines warp about – eerie & disconnected, inviting a brooding sense of suppressed hysteria.
Most recently, Shaw has a found a home for his output as Sigha in the form of Belgian imprint, Token. In many ways, recent releases on the label Our Father and Christ Figures feel like a coming to bear of sorts – representing a rich and methodical distillation of the finest facets of the artist’s work. Born of the same powerful Romanticism & purgative ideals, but fiercely functional – the material bears all the hallmarks of an artist approaching a rich new creative plane.