SCQ Rating: 82%
Ghostly International has nurtured a surprisingly prolific relationship with Zach Saginaw since signing him in early 2010. With a smattering of digital-only EPs and one full-length under their belt, this partnership has resulted in a bevy of original Shigeto compositions inspired by Saginaw’s family history and nearly as much material remixed by or for the label’s formidable roster. Back when Shigeto’s white-hot inspiration was but a spark (with his Semi-Circle EP), Saginaw included a remix of Mux Mool’s ‘Morning Strut’ entitled “Shigeto’s Wakenbake Edit”; little did we know how much Saginaw’s style would come to compliment the chilled-out notion of a stoned morning on one’s own.
You see Lineage doesn’t extract this carefree attitude strictly on the merits of its shuffling, retro-fresh jazz leanings. Much of what distinguishes Shigeto’s latest mini-album lies in technique, probably the last thing his previous work showed any lacking in. But whereas Full Circle and What We Held On To EP sometimes favored the kitchen-sink approach of constantly revitalizing a composition with new ideas, Lineage’s technique is focused and ultimately matured. The meditative air permeating ‘Ann Arbor Part 3 & 4’ allows its electronic keys and shuffling beat to bend without transforming altogether which, like the soul-infused Boards Of Canada drone of ‘Please Stay’, feels entirely subdued next to Shigeto’s typical chaos.
Besides laying down head-nod approved beats with sustained melodies, Lineage thrives on an organic palette of resonating electric piano, warm organ and, most importantly, a percussive sensibility that bridges hip hop to jazz. From the freeform workout alone that ushers in the psychedelic flourishes and spastic beats of ‘A Child’s Mind’, it’s clear that Shigeto has struck a particularly lush groove this go around. Is this another teasingly short entry in Zach Saginaw’s speedy evolution? Sure. But unlike past enticements that exhausted as often as they thrilled, Lineage proves instantly re-spinnable; the sort of album that seeps into the sludgy atmosphere of a February morning and enlightens everything.