Review: Shigeto – No Better Time Than Now
Published on August 12th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
No Better Time Than Now: that title seems about right. After all, 2013 has been a stellar year for synaesthetic electronic music, the likes of Matmos, Gold Panda, Mount Kimbie and Jon Hopkins having had us licking our lips with their cross-sensory delights. Enter Japanese-American producer Shigeto with one of the best yet.
You’ll be hard pressed to hear a more elating intro all year than that provided by “First Saturn Return”. It bubbles and fizzes over into digital rapture within its two minutes and fourteen seconds, laying the foundations for a spread of richly autumnal colours that proceeds to overwhelm in all the right ways.
The rhythm section of the ensuing “Detroit Part 1” drags itself clumsily yet absorbingly along like something Hodgy Beats might put together, going on to become a Space Invaders-era arcade game set to lush analog synths before it all gives way – of course – to clacking thumb piano.
“Ringleader” sends luscious, twinkly jewels tumbling over each other for your attention and affection, slipping a satisfying shuffle underneath then scarpering from the scene of the “Perfect Crime”, which finds a Soca rhythm getting beaten up by Squarepusher. No one dares intervene.
We could go on, so we will: “Ritual Howl” blows a paranoid breeze through tinkling wind chimes tickled into action from underneath by a bouncing rubber tire of a rhythm, while “Safe in Here” is apt of title insomuch as No Better Time Than Now is one of those electronic albums that, without it being ‘chill-out’, you can just snuggle up to. Hug it, squeeze it, call it George if you have to.
That glowing electric piano and those autumnally coloured layers of synth are still present and correct, underpinned by a scraping percussive element that burrows right into the centre of your brain, in a manner that’s far, far more pleasant than that sounds. Er, which is to say that that may not sound pleasant, but my goodness how it is.
No Better Time Than Now gets palpably sleepier as it progresses, “Silver Lining” especially lulling with its echo-y monastic samples, and “Tell a Tale” brings the curtain down with a rhythm section so irresistibly crinkly as to give you the sense of a magnificent cake being iced.
At this stage, No Better Time Than Now by Shigeto feels like a serious contender for electronic album of the year. In fact, according to our allocation of quails (coming right up), it is currently out in the lead alongside Matmos. Not bad going in a year that’s also seen releases from such masters as Autechre, Boards of Canada, Moderat and µ-Ziq.
No Better Time Than Now will be released on August 19th through Ghostly International.
Rocksucker says: Four and a Half Quails out of Five!