‘Lineage’ is jazz-orientated beatsmith Shigeto’s second (mini) LP, after his 2010 debut ‘Full Circle’. Released on his native Ghostly International, much of this sophomore effort concerns itself with its producer’s ancestry and heritage. The artwork itself is particularly poignant, displaying his great-grandfather’s home in Hiroshima, 1916, while the inside vinyl sleeve powerfully depicts his great-grandfather at the Amache Internment Camp in Colorado. A disturbing thought, no doubt, but that’s where the moroseness ends. Lineage evokes a positive wistfulness, feelings of nostalgia conveyed through dream-like sequences and minute attention to detail. It rewards immersion, with subtle delights waiting to spring upon you around every corner.
Shigeto’s jazz orientated background is heavily focused upon throughout the album. Dreamy arpeggios punctuate the opening of ‘Ann Arbor Pt. 3 & 4’, ascended above the multi-faceted percussion. A noticeable trait of ‘Lineage’ is the relationship between the ambient melodic aspects, which at times sound as if they’re about to float away, and the quiet, hip-hop energy of the percussion, creating a continual disparity. The record hits its stride with ‘Soaring’, which ups the intensity, a stronger beat undercut by a beautiful array of harp and string sequences that give the track a kaleidoscopic quality. It’s here that Shigeto’s attention to detail really makes itself evident, as all manner of subtle nuances and effects enter the fray to provide the finishing touches.
‘A Childs Mind’ draws heavily upon Jazz melodicism, traditional percussive sweeps contrasted with electronic overtones, with a frenetic, infectious beat breaking through. Quietly optimistic and playful, the title aptly reflects its contents. ‘Huron River Drive’ positively sways, improvisational keys egging on the feathery undercurrent. Shigeto is masterful in his timing and delivery, subtle variations hitting ‘Field Trip’ quickly and elegantly, before providing a grandiose crescendo moment. It’s accomplished, pristine composition, and the refreshment the album provides is one of its biggest attributes. When he does do melancholy, it’s through a similar lens, albeit turned on its head. ‘Please Stay’ sings out in a beautifully strained manner, giving the previously spring-like tone a darker
‘Lineage’ is released via Ghostly International on January 31.