Shigeto’s new mini-LP, Lineage, is a surprisingly intimate release. On the surface, the eight-track disc offers warm, inviting, percussion-based electronic music, but with each listen, Zach Saginaw unveils new layers that detail the formation of the record, as well as a more personal history. The story begins with the front cover: a photograph of Saginaw’s great grandfather’s house in Hiroshima, Japan. The image is chopped in half and slightly offset, setting the tone for a sound that is somewhere in between the glitch and the organic.
During his live shows, Shigeto will show off his prowess as a drummer and has often stated that the percussion sections are where he draws a majority of his inspiration. Saginaw even got his musical start at age 13 when his parents bought him a drum kit after listening to countless hours of his playful drumming on household objects. These humble roots seem to manifest themselves on “A Child’s Mind,” which begins with a snare- and cymbal-heavy drum solo that sounds like a young prodigy sitting down at his trap set after a long day of school. Once the beat finally gains its composure, Shigeto whips out the chimes, piano samples and tranquil bass that define the sound of the album. And defining a sound is one of Shigeto’s true strengths, as Lineage remains incredibly cohesive and tight from start to finish.
Saginaw acts as an excellent host throughout the effort as he guides the listener around his hometown on “Ann Arbor Part 3 & 4,” and even makes the plea, “Please Stay” on the final track. The high level of intimacy that Saginaw creates almost made me feel as though I should be taking off my shoes whenever I was about to start the record again. If I had to muster a gripe with the album, though, it would be that it doesn’t quite push the boundaries in the way some earlier Shigeto recordings have, particularly in terms of percussion. Songs like “So So Lovely” off Shigeto’s first LP, Full Circle, have an intoxicating swing to them that isn’t quite matched on Lineage.
Lineage is a fine effort from a young producer with a bright career ahead of him. The record displays an impressive maturity as Saginaw ponders musical and personal roots that span decades, and perhaps even centuries. With elements of laid-back jazz, trip hop and instrumental hip-hop, Shigeto invites the listener to sit back, get comfortable and take in his wonderful sounds and the stories they tell.
Fat Jon – Afterthought
Eliot Lipp – Eliot Lipp
DJ Cam – Mad Blunted Jazz
Stream: Shigeto – “Lineage”