Beat Breaks: Shigeto’s ‘Intermission’ EP

The Michigan man with an L.A. bent delivers new EP 'Intermission' through Ghostly International.
By    October 28, 2015


a Jedi of the Beat Scene Chris Daly is

Hailing from Michigan is its own reward and punishment. The same place that gave us Isiah Thomas, Gordie Howe, and Jack White also gave us, well, Detroit, and, unless you’re a true Midwesterner at heart, some pretty brutal winters to go hand-in-hand with a harsh economy and bleak social outlook. To add insult to injury, even if you’re one of the top beat producers of today, you’re always going to be in the shadows of the L.A. scene, regardless of how often you breathe the same, rarefied air on stage and on tour. Shigeto, unfortunately, is the poster child here, but on his latest EP, Intermission, the Wolverine State native demonstrates yet again that he’s very much at the forefront of the domestic beat scene.

[Via Billboard]

Zachary Shigeto Saginaw explores the same fringes of electronic music as fellow beat heads Nosaj Thing, Flying Lotus, Teebs and Shlomo. While Shigeto’s training as a percussionist always shines through in his knack for finding the perfect groove to lead listeners down his peculiar rabbit hole, it’s his ability to instantly convey stark emotion that sets him apart from the crowd. Case in point, opener “Pulse” not only is the standout track on Intermission, it also is one of the better tracks of the year, period. Clocking in at just over seven minutes, what could be a plodding start is instead a vehicle for tension. Shigeto’s sample of a female’s intake of breath, repeated, always on the verge of starting to say or sing something, but then teasing away, keeps a haunting, expectant vibe at the forefront. He’s too smart to ride the same horse for too long, though, changing up the synths every couple of minutes to keep the emotions ebbing and flowing like P.T. Barnum behind the boards.

“City Dweller,” with its 70s school film soundtrack keyboards and percolating percussion, makes for a satisfying follow-up, more relaxed, yet still enthralling. The aptly named “Gently” is a wispy memory from yesterday wrapped in gauze, the wafer thin mint resting point before “Do My Thing” adds a more sinister, dare I say ghostly, feel to the album. The meditative exercises “Deep Breathing” and “Need Nobody” submerse the listener in more hazy, autumnal shades before exiting.

At just six tracks, Intermission feels like it’s namesake–this is a perfect project to tide the listener over between major acts. Can’t wait for the curtain to rise again. Just hope it doesn’t happen in Ann Arbor in January.

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