On 2010′s Full Circle and 2012′s Lineage, composer-producer Zack Shigeto Saginaw, who records under his middle name, was a cool practitioner of twilit beatscapes: indie-crossover-friendly, tempo-variable, suggestive of hip-hop. No Better Time Than Now has a much heavier early-’70s astral-jazz feel than his prior work — if the title of the opener, “First Saturn Return,” isn’t enough of a clue to Shigeto’s orientation, the crinkly percussion and slow-rippling Fender Rhodes line and chimes ought to do it.
That sound echoes throughout No Better Time Than Now, which acts as a reminder, along with Theo Parrish’s Black Jazz Signature mix and Flying Lotus’s recent Apocalypse, of how deeply Detroit techno is grounded in the Alice Coltrane-Return to Forever-Weather Report axis. But No Better Time isn’t “techno” any more than it is “jazz.” These tracks are so drifty that they need to be played loudly if they’re to be apprehended much at all — and a gain in volume equals a gain in legibility as well as playfulness, which is best appreciated on the soft, Brazilian-tinged undertow of the groove on “Ringleader” and the curling videogame FX of the title cut. It’s an immersive mix that invites, not overwhelms — a pretty bitching brew.