Thursday, May 13, 2010

Semi Circle EP - Shigeto

Semi Circle EP

Ghostly International/Moodgadget.

SCQ Rating: 76%

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting in on a poetry workshop that, for a few hours, discussed how a single line-break or preference of punctuation can shape and distort how a poem is read. Poetry’s lawless world of syntax, where anything can transcend if it’s positioned just right, trades contrived for exciting with seemingly minute details, and electronica thrives by the same gray boundaries. Shigeto, moniker for Zach Saginaw, seems to be well-versed in bending genre rules on Semi Circle EP, his gauntlet of a debut for Ghostly International.

Loaded with a heavy back-story – that of Saginaw’s grandmother, who was imprisoned in an American internment camp for citizens with Japanese roots – Semi Circle only seems burdened on opening segue ‘Beginnings’. Over the subsequent sixteen minutes, Shigeto’s wall-to-wall techniques nearly disguise his historical crate-digging. Hip-hop beats are consistently manipulated, at times combined with heavy Toro Y Moi-styled fades (as on ‘There Is Always Hope’), or supplying the urban grit under ‘Eternal Life’’s cascading piano-work. ‘Bakers Blunt Basics’ is the electronic adaptation of that unreliable faucet in your house that rises and drops in pressure, all unpredictable swings in pitch and tempo, while the romantic keys of ‘Embrace the Cold’ progressively go tone-deaf, morphing into an IDM-inspired icicle-march even Pantha du Prince should marvel at. However these instrumental tracks are connected to the regrettable era that imprisoned Saginaw’s grandmother, Semi Circle makes for an adventurous quarter-hour as well as an inspired tribute. And if you’re feeling raw about how short it is, no worries; this EP is just a precursor to Full Circle, Shigeto’s full-length due out on Ghostly later this year.

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