Wednesday, 26 May 2010

RECOMMENDED: Sigha - Shake EP [Hotflush Two]

The downside of being part of a label with such a strong community of big hitters (Scuba, Joy Orbison, Mount Kimbie, bits from Ramadanman and Pangaea) is that there’s always the risk of vanishing into the gaps between major releases. London producer Sigha is among Hotflush’s more mercurial talents, shifting on a whim between slo-mo house and techno, rigid two-step and minimalist dubstep(ish) transmissions, without ever fully locking to any of them. Perhaps for this reason his releases always seem to be slightly overlooked: his tracks are too broken and awkward for true techno, not weighty enough for dubstep per se and lacking the obviously soulful edge you’d expect of garage.

But then that’s kinda the beauty of his music – shorn of any obvious genre affiliations, Sigha productions are free to drift in whatever direction the whim takes them. If there’s a shared trait to everything he’s put out, it’s an ultra stripped-back, Berlin-schooled approach that reduces melody to swathes of gaseous static that weave around deceptively complex beats. Last year’s Rawww EP was an underrated gem, the title track’s obvious Basic Channel-isms offset by the ghostly London-centred sounds of ‘Hold Your Heart Up To The Light’, and his new Shake EP – his fourth for the Hotflush Two imprint – sees him further exploring the same hazily drawn lines. The range of ideas on here once again put paid to any notion of an easily categorisable Sigha ‘sound’, but also consolidates his previous work into three tracks that showcase the different sides of his music. More so than any of his other releases, they’re also quite strikingly pretty, the lack of obvious melodic development more than made up for by the sheer weight of detail packed into each.

There always seems to be something extra going on in each of these three tracks. Closing ambient piece ‘Light Swells (In A Distant Space)’ is lit up by tiny arcs of electricity that flicker almost out of earshot, like catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye. As the furthest departure he’s taken from dance music it’s a success, its structure made up of dense layers of cloud that press against one another to generate moments of dissonance and clarity. Lead track ‘Shake’ is far tougher and more muscular than anything he’s done before, moving away from the implied momentum of a track like ‘Bruised’ into a pounding slab of house, but ‘Shapes’ is the most interesting on here. Operating at around 136 bpm, it chucks the kitchen sink at a loosely techno-tinged beat, sending abstract percussive hits and clicks rattling around dark pulses of sub. It’s a proper eyes-down dancefloor beast, and despite the absence of anything resembling a hook manages to remain far more than simply a DJ tool.

Interesting developments as ever from the Sigha camp then. It’ll be intriguing to see where he heads next.

Words: Rory Gibb
Out: Now


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