Chris Daly was high when he wrote this, so forgive him if it goes astray.
Eight samurai and three people in suits with bicycles, one of which is a small child, interact on the porch of a pagoda. While you could be forgiven for thinking the previous sentence was either the set up for a truly tasteless joke or a kick-ass, yet ultimately confusing, anime, I’m here to tell you, it’s something else. The described scene is, in fact, the cover art for Shigeto’s Lineage, and a fitting one at that. The Ghostly International recording artist has put together a stunning piece filled with beautiful beats, with an obvious eye towards the future that commingles well with the sounds of the past.
Otherwise known as Zach Saginaw, this album hopefully will begin to afford the young musician/producer some of the accolades he so rightfully deserves. Sure, he’s been touring with some of the bigger names in the scene, but he needs to be headlining instead of warming up the crowd. Lineage is the proof. Tracks like “Huron River Dance” and the eponymous “Lineage” demonstrate that this kid has an ear for melody many of his contemporaries would kill to have. Too many beatheads think it’s solely about the sample and/or the drums. Shigeto knows, appreciates and utilizes a much fuller spectrum of sounds and emotions, creating a far more intelligent and relaxed form of head nodding. This is not to say that the young gun doesn’t know his way around a drum machine. Quite the contrary, Shigeto is a trained and more than proficient actual drummer (you know, with sticks and drums as opposed to computer keys), and his skills come to the forefront on songs like “Field Trip.” Like his will o’ the wisp music, however, Shigeto is far more in the Billy Conway camp than John Bonham’s, coaxing the beats from the skins instead of pounding them like a recalcitrant erection.
And if all this weren’t enough, I believe the ultimate accolade came from my wife, who typically hates all beat music, when she proclaimed of the closer, “Please Stay,” “this sounds like an actual song instead of all that repetitive boom boom boom noise you usually like.” Heady praise, indeed.
Over the course of eight tracks, Shigeto takes the listener on a subdued journey through past and present, incorporating live instruments alongside familiar electronic blips, bleeps, scratches and such. Using a predominantly subdued palette, the pictures painted are of underground tea ceremony raves populated by techno otaku in pulsating kimonos, the rising sun an inspiration for the day to come, while still providing ample homage to yesterdays past.