- By the time James Shaw made his first record for Blueprint in 2011, he was at the front of a new British techno movement nearly as hard-hitting and uncompromising as the Birmingham stuff in the '90s. But soon the Berlin-based producer's mind began to wander. Entrenched in his tangled bedroom studio, Shaw started to abstract his approach to techno towards the end of 2012. (Titles like A Series Of Desecrations, The Purification Loops and Techno Derivatives made that obvious enough.) Those records were extreme in their own way: it was like he put a microscope on tiny sections of his music and made entire tracks out of the zoomed-in blurs. With this year's Our Father, on Token, Shaw seemed to get back on track, releasing his most elegant record in years. And now he's come full circle. Pluralism, Sigha's return to Blueprint, shows the fervor that gripped him circa 2011 hasn't entirely left.
The title track bores forward like a heat-seeking missile. Shaw's approach here is brutally simple: the kick drum forges a path while a rattling synth lead traces uneasy circles around it. The mood stays intense, and Shaw throws in Plastikman-style snare rolls at strategic moments to give it an extra boost. "Demonstration" offers more pulsating techno, this time swamped by a volatile bassline that blots out other elements at random, and the EP is finished off with "Desire," where the low-end eclipses everything. Slumping along without any real kick pattern, the implied movement of "Desire" recalls previous Sigha experiments, like The Purification Loops, but now charged with energy. Pluralism is where the experimentally-inclined Sigha of recent years marries the snarling Sigha of 2011, and it's enough to make you wish they met each other years ago.