English producer James Shaw aka Sigha presents his sophomore album, Metabolism, marking his third release on the Token label following his singles Our Father/A Better Way Of Living (TOKEN 056EP, 2015) and Christ Figures/New Puritan (TOKEN 063EP, 2016). Metabolism represents an arrival, as the artist offers his definitive statement on a production aesthetic that has been in development throughout the 2010s. Shaw's work as Sigha has always placed the listener at a centrifugal point that invites a clandestine hypnosis rather than an abject hysteria. Cavernous low ends fixed firmly and effectively in a mono space tether the music to the body, while exquisitely executed white noise patterns and crystalline pads warp and hiss around the stereo environment. This keen ear for distinction within the frequency spectrum acts as the central theme on the album. Metabolism encompasses a power dynamism that departs from the explicitly grayscale finish found on Shaw's more conceptual work as Sigha and as A Vision Of Love for Guy Brewer's Avian label. Though elements of Metabolism maintain a driven, corrosive quality, each searing sequence and mordant drum machine hit occupies its own space. On high-energy dancefloor moments and abstract tracks alike, Shaw's approach to distortion is one that sets out to separate components rather than to bind them. This creates a matrix of aural stimuli that remain heady and inherently propulsive, but are realized in a fashion more akin to high-fidelity sound design than processes traditionally associated with the techno genre. The album also possesses a powerful musicality beyond this acute attention to form and structure. In the past, Shaw's productions have often married high-energy drum work with subtly shifting minor keys spread around the sonic periphery. On Metabolism, emotive leads sit squarely and comfortably in the foreground, and build toward rapturous crescendos that are crisp and omnipresent throughout the mix. These careful layers generate the extraordinary tension that has become a hallmark of the artist's work. Metabolism is a techno album, but its frame of reference is generous, drawing on the finest facets of the artist's own varied discography and the wider electronic music landscape. Cohesive and modern, Shaw's second album eschews a handful of riffs on a single idea in favor of a multi-faceted, fully realized expression of what the genre can be.