Album Review: Shigeto / ‘No Better Time Than Now’ (Ghostly International)

Shigeto No Better Time Than Now

★★★★☆

The souring of buttery instrumentals by Zach Saginaw crafts a trickle-down effect of warm beats hitting jagged rocks. Like settling down at the end of the day in an uncomfortable chair sent by the LA beat scene, Shigeto is just above melancholic but is never far away from disaffected, creating silver linings — just like the eponymous track 11 — with fractures in them.

The mixing of analogue plug-ins with methods using digital chopsticks, hardens adolescent innocence to cold facts. “Olivia” gets heads nodding while administering paper cuts to ears, and hip-hop burbles chunter under their breath (“Detroit Part 1″). Any positivity is always consumed mildly, a habitual sweetness in the air (“Ritual Howl”) handled with concern. Where one or two beats refuse to let on, sometimes you wish Shigeto would come out and be less emotionally indistinct. “Perfect Crime” noodles and fidgets away, teasing with hopeful segments that are quickly done for.

Saginaw sifting through several processes at once is why his mood never appears as cut and dried as merely lonely or savouring isolation. With there being no barren spells of emptiness, flickers, squirms and tics in a smothered surround sound create a low-rent richness you feel you can lean on. Conversely, when fighting for sleep as temperature takes over, the lava lamp alongside starting to churn fiery colours, this is just the instrumentalism to go with it.

File under: Teebs, Sweatson Klank, Frank Omura

Matt Oliver