Shigeto is a drummer. If you read anything about the Detroit-based artist, real name Zachary Saginaw, this fact will be drilled into you. It's clear in all of his past work: whether it's cobbled together from odd samples or the thump of a real kit, percussion is the focal point of his music. But Saginaw was hemmed in on his debut album, Full Circle, and its follow-up, Lineage, by a hip-hop framework borrowed from the LA beat scene. He's loosened up his sound since then, and as a result, No Better Time Than Now feels like the turning point that Full Circle should have been.
As its title suggests, No Better Time Than Now came at a time of great personal change for Saginaw, amidst a hectic touring schedule, a move back home and the end of a long relationship. The album also feels like a big change for Shigeto as a project, but a resolute and hopeful one, taking in his turmoil and making the most out of it. On tracks like "Ringleader," the rhythms are more assertive and, crucially, more drawn out. Rather than looping a single hip-hop beat and making a song around it, these tracks luxuriate in the space they have to resonate and grow.
This is a more interesting method of composition for Saginaw. Where much of his previous work sat idly, now his music carries searing emotion. This is especially obvious on the title track, which drapes a wheezing synth over a turbulent but perfectly poised drum track that conveys eerie calm in the midst of a storm. "Miss U" is a reflective lullaby that hits a decadent sweet spot inspired by late '70s funk.
Saginaw's textures are gorgeous, too. With this spacious songwriting comes a more natural ambience, as if the songs were recorded live in a room rather than multi-tracked in a computer. On "Soul Searching," for instance, the piercing twang of strings is a wonderful counterpart to the reverberating rhodes, and throughout the album his drums are beautifully mixed with their surroundings. Surely Saginaw's most confident work yet, No Better Time Than Now shows a young artist maturing with the grace of a seasoned musician.
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Tracklist: Shigeto - No Better Time Than Now01. First Saturn Return
02. Detroit Part 1
04. Perfect Crime
06. Miss U
07. Ritual Howl
08. Soul Searching
09. Safe In Here
10. No Better Time Than Now
11. Silver Lining
12. Tell a Tale
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