It may not be an overstatement that techno’s (or in a broader sense, electronic music’s) unique effect is that sometimes it requires only one loop or beat to make a track forever memorable. Of course, humanity doesn’t always listen to music that way, but if we take a closer look at our favourites, in most cases it becomes evident that the reason why we love them is often some minor touch on the whole piece. James Shaw’s debut EP on Avian as Sigha is a perfect example of how techno music works brilliantly by following the above principle.
‘The Purification Loops’ offers six new works by the British techno artist, and they really are ‘just’ loops. Very little happens in the record’s half hour running time, but the ideas presented are so intriguing and so paramount that it is actually very difficult not to listen to the tracks over and over. There is not even a constant 4/4 techno beat; Shaw instead focuses on other parts of the music by creating swirling backgrounds, aerial ambient landscapes and hissing noises (in sotto voce). While the A-side of the vinyl is a calmer, more textural affair, things are noticeably set into motion in the last three chapters, thanks to some rhythm-heavy loops.
Back to the basics has not been this good for a while. The Purification Loops is 100% pure Sigha material, its strongest element is the power to keep everything as minimal as possible. Sometimes we easily forget how outstanding techno tunes are born: now we have an extensive manual to remember.