Shigeto – Intermission EP Review

This  month, Ghostly International serves up the latest offering from Detroit-based Shigeto, in the form of a 6 track EP entitled ‘Intermission’. Ghostly is known for its lucid taste in the realms of all things electronic, putting out records under the self-described and purposefully meaningless ‘avant-pop’ banner; notable label pals include Gold Panda, Dauwd and Fort Romeau.

‘Intermission’ provides another example of the this artist’s ability to take influence from the worlds of hip-hop and bass (insert equally awful pigeon-hole descriptive here) for a hypnotic, visceral effect. The record’s title nods to the fact that this is the first label outing from Zachary Saginow (middle name Shigeto) since his sophomore album, ‘No Better Time Than Now’, which came out in 2013. Don’t get it twisted though, Shigeto has been busy recording, playing live jazz and building a new studio. Back in 2010, he even put out some free music on Soundcloud despite it originally being destined for release.

Intermission serves as an insight into his influences as well as future direction. The opener, ‘Pulse’, is a slow-paced house jam, held together with crisp vibraphone hits and supernatural pads. This seamlessly links with ‘City Dweller’, which boasts a myriad of delayed synths and piano jazz licks, making hairs on the most frequent laser removal patients stand on end. This wall of synth is obliterated upon introduction of a swaggering low end around the minute mark.

Things calm down  on ‘Gently’, a beatless number, which rolls with layers of intricate synths laced with clever delay automation. ‘Do My Thing’ leads with a processed vocal of the same words and a swung beat, with long release kicks for good measure. Intertwining bells and claps drive the track forward before the lead kicks in, which, despite its repetition, carries arguably too much movement in its envelope, keeping things intriguing.

‘Deep Breathing’ is another beatless track and almost acts as the records reprieve. The pulsing pads and beckoning, eastern lead, make it one for the end of the night. You know the track. You’re crashing and want to leave but your mate is gripping the railings a bit too tightly, transfixed on some unknown point just above the DJ’s left ear. The record finishes with a slow, stuttering groover called ‘Need Nobody’, the intro of which would make any Zelda fan-boy scramble for lost cartridges. It’s the sort of thing you’d stick on if you felt pensive but had nothing in particular to mull over.

It is not the individual elements of ‘Intermission’ that make it tight, but the manner in which they are melded together. Each track forces listeners to spend time guessing the dominant influences; Shigeto makes a noticeable attempt to make listening, an increasingly passive activity, resolutely more active.

Listen to “Do My Thing” below:

Written by Nick Moore

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