Shigeto, Lineage

Sam Richards

By Sam Richards

on 01.31.12 in Reviews



Electronic music is a truly international language these days, but the upshot is it can sometimes feel a little rootless. When producers across the world fromTorontotoTokyoare using the same plug-ins and drawing from the same pool of influences, there’s always a danger of homogeneity.

Glistening electric piano motifs and burbling beats

Not for Zach Saginaw, though. As the title of his latest mini-LP makes clear, his music is very much a direct expression of who he is and where he comes from. His Shigeto pseudonym is a tribute to his Japanese grandfather, and Lineage‘s cover shows a sepia-toned photograph of a boy pushing a bicycle across the courtyard of a dojo, emphasising his heritage. Meanwhile, the richly evocative music on tracks such as “Ann Arbor Part 3 & 4″ and “Huron River Drive” betray a nostalgic longing for theMichigan scenery of his childhood.

Musically, Saginaw seems to have a lot in common with L.A.’s glitch-hop maestro Flying Lotus, in that he combines his considerable jazz chops — he spent six years studying music in college — with a love for the abstract hip-hop patterns of J Dilla, Dabrye and Madlib. Saginaw wears his virtuosity much more easily than Flylo, though, and Lineage is a warm, welcoming listen, characterised by its glistening electric piano motifs and burbling beats. Perhaps more than anyone it recalls the early work of Four Tet, especially when standout track “Field Day” locks into a rickety U.K. garage groove.