Zachary Shigeto Saginaw, aka Shigeto, produces an organic form of electronic music that blends influences such as hip-hop, IDM, ambient, and house. During his live performances, he frequently veers from his electronic equipment and lays down jazzy rhythms on his first instrument, the drums. He made his full-length debut in 2010 with the cosmic glitch-hop of Full Circle. Later releases such as 2017's The New Monday concentrated on more club-friendly tracks, while 2019's Versions paid homage to Saginaw's jazz roots.
Saginaw was exposed to jazz and R&B through his father's record collection. While still a youngster living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he picked up the drums and eventually integrated himself in the Detroit-area music scene. Several years later, after attending New York City's New School and living in London, England, he started working on electronic music. Based in Brooklyn, he linked with the Ghostly International-affiliated Moodgadget label and issued EPs with A Setting Sun, and as Shigeto and Frank Omura. His first album as Shigeto, however, was released on Ghostly — a label that had inspired him since its early-2000s inception. Full Circle, a bright and knotty cross-section of IDM, ambient techno, left-field hip-hop, and post-dubstep, was released in November 2010. It was around this time that Saginaw joined School of Seven Bells on tour as the band's drummer.
Saginaw's productions became increasingly melodic, graceful, and jazz-inflected on his next Ghostly releases, including 2012's Lineage — issued the year he returned to Michigan — and the following year's No Better Time Than Now. In 2015, Shigeto collaborated with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas on the electro-acoustic album High Risk, appeared on Heathered Pearls' Body Complex, and released his own Intermission, a modest six-track EP. He subsequently co-founded the Portage Garage Sounds label with brother Ben Saginaw (of Ritual Howls) and recorded as ZGTO with rapper ZelooperZ (of Bruiser Brigade). In October 2017, only two months after the arrival of ZGTO's A Piece of the Geto, Shigeto released his third Ghostly album, The New Monday. Titled in reference to a weekly DJ night held at a Detroit venue, the album reflected a multitude of inspirations — including the likes of house masters Moodymann and Theo Parrish — with a communal perspective. An EP titled Weighted appeared in 2018, and two more arrived in 2019: a self-titled house 12" released by Vanity Press Records and the Ghostly-issued Versions, containing jazz arrangements of earlier Shigeto compositions. ~ Andy Kellman