Tuesday 18 June 2013


Songs that have a story, yeah they're quite nice aren't they - adds another level into what is essentially just a bunch of sounds stuck together. Hmmm that's a little reductionist of me so I'm sorry, but you know what I mean. The story behind a song can be told through the lyrics obviously, but if there are no lyrics to a song where does one turn? One turns to the title, one does.

So, from the title of Detroit-based Shigeto's new song (4 days old ok), 'Detroit Part 1', I think that we can safely assume that it is in some way connected to Detroit. It's a musical illustration of the city, one that instantly is typified by a raw jagged-edged sound surrounded by a hazy almost magical atmosphere, like knives cutting through smoke or the ghost of a city awaking bleary-eyed and trudging past its former glories.

There is an almost tragic atmosphere about it, something faintly hopeful against a present beset by woeful nostalgia. In short: it's beautiful.

Shigeto (real name Zach Saginaw) has created something that's eerie from the start with a metallic wind kinda sound, tinged with razor-sharp cutting sounds and aggressive shakers for percussion, all underpinned by a rumblingly bassy hip hop beat that sounds as though it's coming from somewhere else - a party in someone else's house, in someone else's city. It's a glitchy first half, meaty yet crumbed with hearty bubbling videogame bleeps and ray-gun zaps.

But then there's this perfect transition from that darker half to this next half, introduced by a ghostly marimba battling against percussive background clicks, joined by that same rumbling beat and now a deep bassline that is the foundation for a sad set of soft organ chords that take us to the end, with the marimbas echoing all around. Gradually it fades out, replaced with music that's entirely muffled slightly-square-wave synth for an outro, a tragic "bad ending" kind of vibe, sounding like something from Streets of Rage - is that what Detroit is like?

It's really nice stuff anyway and judging from the title there should be a 'Part 2' at some point. There is actually a whole new album, No Better Time Than Now, coming out 19th August on Ghostly.

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