Shigeto – No Better Time Than Now
Japanese-American producer Shigeto, aka Zachary Saginaw, has a lot in common with the Brainfeeder stable of beat-makers – his productions are mercurial, wide-ranging, with an understated but complex musicality, frequently using field recordings in the drum patterns. He also bears comparison to early trip-hop pioneers like DJ Krush, with whom he shares an affection for traditional Eastern sounds, with wooden chimes and shamisen-like strings proliferating on tracks like Detroit Part 1.
At its base, his music is rooted in a hip-hop and electro aesthetic, never falling into the trap of sounding like abstract, formless ambient, and always tied to inviting, danceable rhythms. Ringleader coalesces into gently pulsing house, Perfect Crime's deconstructed electro hits all the right notes, while Ritual Howl has more in common with a Dilla instrumental. Restlessly inventive, but never showy or over-cooked, his beats are flawlessly constructed; exercises in restraint with a marked compositional flair. One of Ghostly's lesser-known artists, he deserves wider attention. [Bram E. Gieben]