Shigeto // Announces 'Lineage' Mini-LP on Ghostly International
Artists take on pseudonyms for a multitude of reasons, but in Zach Saginaw’s case, those reasons run deeper than most. Zach records under the name Shigeto. It’s his middle name; it’s also his grandfather’s name, a tribute to the Japanese branch of Zach’s family tree. Shigeto also means 'to grow bigger'—appropriate, given Zach’s premature birth-weight of less than a pound.
Today, Shigeto stands for Zach’s vividly beautiful electronic music. Beat-driven but given to richly textured sound design, rhythmically fractured but melodically sumptuous, Shigeto’s music is a bridge between the past and present, bringing the artist face to face with a creative legacy that spans decades.
All of this considered, it's not for nothing that his forthcoming mini-LP is called 'Lineage', the follow up to the acclaimed 'Full Circle' full length from 2010. It's set for a January 31st, 2012 release date on Ghostly International.
Pitchfork premiered the title track 'Lineage', which showcases Shigeto's signature production style with a backbone of live instrumentation techniques. Currently on tour in China, he'll be playing live at the Glasslands Gallery in New York on January 14th, upon his return.
The front cover includes a photo of Shigeto's great grandfather's house from 1916 in Hiroshima, Japan while the LP/vinyl version of the back cover includes a photo of Shigeto Ohmura at the Amache Internment Camp in Grenada, Colorado after his family was transfered from Tule Lake Internment Camp. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war against Japan many Americans believed that the Japanese-Americans were spies or traitors. This is how Shigeto's grandfather and other family members ended up in these camps.
While only Saginaw could speak to the ancestral motivation being referenced on the eight instrumental songs that comprise Lineage, it's easy to see it as an acknowledgement of debt to musical forebears, reverent respect due to the jazz, hip-hop, funk and folk that animates these eight songs. And while these elements aren't new to Saginaw's work, never has he demonstrated such complete command of his material. Each song is a complex constellation of sounds and ideas, but his compositional focus and restraint grounds songs that are otherwise cosmically inclined.
'Lineage (Prologue)' eases into being with windchimes, effects, circular organ and little else, recalling a particularly subdued Sun Ra passage. That segues into 'Lineage' proper, which props up the melody with shifty uptempo percussion and bass. 'Ann Arbor Part 3 & 4' announces itself with lovely keys and falling rain before hip-hop beats steal the show. 'Soaring' eases back into a handclap, acoustic guitar and harp sounds reverie, underpinned with lazy, spacey bass. Shigeto’s brilliant drumming takes center stage on 'A Child’s Mind' moving from a bombastic unaccompanied run into esoteric jazz and finally settling into a shuffling, prismatic hip-hop. Shigeto’s deft cymbal and snare work are also found on 'Huron River Drive', a dubby, smoky, soulful joint that dials back the lysergic digitalia that colors so much of the mini-LP as a whole. The title of 'Field Trip' perfectly captures the adolescent joy and wonderment of the song, with live drums, ebullient toybox sounds and wide-eyed melodies. The understated 'Please Stay' which adds rare vocal sounds to Shigeto’s repertoire of claps and keys, gently guides listeners out of the journey through Lineage.
Shigeto was one of the first of a wave of young artists who grew up influenced by Ghostly’s early output. And again, names come into play. "Putting out these records on Ghostly isn’t just ‘getting signed,’ for me," says Zach, "it’s becoming part of a family, an influence that I’ve respected forever." Let’s just say the feeling’s mutual.
Shigeto - Lineage - out 1/31/12 on Ghostly International
Ann Arbor Parts 3 & 4
A Child's Mind
Huron River Drive