Thursday, November 25, 2010

Full Circle - Shigeto

Full Circle

Ghostly International.

SCQ Rating: 76%

No other artist has greased Ghostly International’s blog-approved promotional gears quite as much as Shigeto, and the reasons for that are numerous. For one, the artist otherwise known as Zach Saginaw has released three records this year (alongside this full-length, the Semi Circle EP and What We Held On To EP), but it’s clear Ghostly’s enthusiasm for Shigeto goes far beyond the man’s prolific nature. Over two EPs that showcased an oft-experimental fusion of varied styles bound by a singular vision, Ghostly has positioned Shigeto to join acts like Mux Mool and Gold Panda as the imprint’s new graduating class.

It’s impressive company to find oneself in, no doubt, backed by arguably the best electronic label currently running. Yet until Full Circle, Shigeto’s praise seemed huddled toward his technical skill and not whether it could adequately create something greater than a disjointed flow of ideas. Full Circle puts those fears to rest, building upon What We Held On To EP’s embrace of grooves to christen Saginaw’s unique style amid an instrumental hip-hop framework. Alas, pinning this LP with an instrumental hip-hop tag likens to an insult, when tracks like ‘So So Lovely’ and ‘Sky Of the Revolution’ utilize those stuttering beats as a foundation for all of Shigeto’s detailed counter-rhythms. Synth bubbles orbit the scaffolding of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and micro-house beats propel ‘Look At All the Smiling Faces’, niceties that somewhat disguise the straightforward digestibility of the set.

A love of jazz also figures prominently into Full Circle, casually loitering the looser confines of these songs and, in the case of ‘Children At Midnight’, taking center-stage with a relaxed jazz-piano sample. Really though, to continue deciphering all of Shigeto’s influences would transform this humble review into a critical essay when, all that aside, Full Circle’s ultimate focus remains groove-oriented. Call it a streamlined take on his more conceptual EPs if you must, but I’d rather hear Shigeto fully explore the possibilities of three ideas in a song as opposed to scratching the surface of twenty. Suddenly all of the hype launched for Shigeto makes sense; he has come "full circle" over the course of 2010, from theoretical taunts to concrete beats, and Ghostly knows this is just the beginning.

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