Shigeto ShigetoFull Circle
The day that robots cry blood and Deckard’s trench coat is in fashion, the day when Philip K. Dick rises from the dead at the hands of a sect of androids and walks around the city naked spreading a nanotech virus among the few humans who have survived entropy, the day that information is liquid and “Mein Kampf” and “Necronomicon” come in bottles—that day, we’ll hear Shigeto’s music piped into elevators everywhere. Then we’ll know that the future has no more to offer, and that we will have entered into a new, nebulous existence in which flesh and silicon, esotericism and theoretical physics, pain and pleasure, east and west, are all the same. This is the cybernetic-spiritual potion brewing in the lab of this American cyborg beatmaker, with a home in Brooklyn and some Japanese branches on his family tree, from where his alias comes. With two highly recommendable EPs out on Ghostly International, “What We Held on to” and “Semi Circle”, Zach Saginaw has shown that he lives on a different wave frequency than we people of flesh and blood. His mind is on the future and he extrapolates his visions from the present, shaping the time-space continuum as if it were clay, looking for sounds that go beyond our perception.
His music has the urban covering and emotional depth of Detroit techno, bordering on the psychedelic structures of Flying Lotus and Dimlite, with the retro-technological nerve of Mux Mool. He invites listeners to ambient-pop evasions with the gospel of Boards Of Canada under his arm, floating in the same digital cloud that Teebs frequents, pursuing the melancholy IDM of The Flashbulb. His is a throbbing grimoire whose pages elucidate the most striking virtues of vanguard electronic music, the same kind that beatmakers extraordinaire are using to perfume the rooms of new generations of listeners.
To enter into the sea of claps, winding keyboards, voice samples, damp basses, and child-like melodies of Shigeto is to float on a pool of melancholy happiness; his music has an almost perfect blend of dreaminess and sadness, a duality that appears in many aspects of his productions, giving his jewels a matte shine—something that is hard to describe in words. In “Sky of the Revolution” he creates fantastic worlds with an overdose of lysergic keyboards, subliminal messages hidden beneath the composition, an electrified hip hop rhythm, and a shower of synthesisers that cleans out your ears and raises your spirits. When he turns to the more “street” side, he also manages to reach outstanding levels of emotion. “Brown Eyed Girl” is where he engenders a fantastic creature that is halfway between Eskmo and Flying Lotus. He also dips his camera into the thicker jazz cloud of smoke, and comes out with experiments that are as disconcerting as they are hypnotic: the depressive pianos of “Children at Midnight”, for example, go along with a disordered, diabolical rhythmic skeleton, full of little voices that come and go. It is a play of beauty and perversity, sadness and smiles, of echoes and strange crackling. “Look at all the Smiling Faces” is possibly one of the album’s greatest achievements and “Full Circle” is pure fascination, pure emotion encoded in a hard disk, robot tears, digital sadness, hip hop for Vulcans… It’s not new beat, it’s new Ghostly.