Living with Ghosts, Hotflush ***
Berlin-based James Shaw’s techno sketches are more hints and traces than fully realised landscapes. As on previous releases, his debut album is about showing his skill as a sound designer and outlining his vision of techno’s more minimal, atmospheric and experimental sides. Shaw’s most enticing moments, like the menacing Faith and Labour or Scene Couple, come when he slowly sweeps the listener into his world and hooks you on an odd note or angular twist that comes out of the sonic murk. But there are also many moments when it seems as if absolutely nothing is happening and Shaw is playing for time with ambient, showboating window-dressing. Living with Ghosts is superbly structured, arranged and executed and a rarity in not wishing to be anything but a techno album. Yet it appears to be missing some vital elements.
Download: Scene Couple