Music | Shigeto Live at Belgrave Music Hall

The night of Wednesday, January 29th presented quite the arrangement of what one could call airy, tasteful music. Belgrave Music Hall has much character of its own, setting the stage for an intimate yet dynamic music experience; its wood-laden floors and quirky seating arrangements achieving the aura of a dim, smoky jazz joint with a bad attitude.

The evening kicked off with the introduction of Leeds’ very own Noya Rao, a three-piece support act that seemed to surprise the crowd with an interesting, spaceship-like sound, which seamlessly complemented Shigeto’s following performance.

The young artist goes to work with a drum kit and a few decks under an almost ethereal glow of dry ice and soft turquoise lighting showcasing in the main No Better Time Than Now (Ghostly International, 2013), Shigeto’s third album. A superb composition, Shigeto builds upon the style explored in his previous Full Circle (2010) and Lineage (2012) albums, a vivid but free flowing sound with jazz-inspired arrangements akin to that of hip hop, but toned down and reminiscent to trip hop. This album, however, brings in a more interesting and elaborate melodic structure. New feels; shakers, xylophones, and pinball-like stabs are only a few examples of a newly found, rhythmically fractured sound that entrances in the same way Boards of Canada would, yet brings about a head bob sparked by a slick Pete Rock beat.

A smooth, low-rider sound can be felt in ‘Detroit Part 1’: characterised by a dark, gloomy chord-pair arrangement with a dirty base in a slow but shaky beat, with arcade-sounds and at last, a stream of dreamy xylophone melodies. Managing to seamlessly stream very chaotic yet rhythmically rich songs together, Shigeto steered into pieces like ‘Ringleader’, characterised by an element of Brazilian ‘Batucada’ style, with progressively fresh jazz arrangements. This song, with several other pieces, showed a cathartic build up of Shigeto’s performance on the drums, with the ending of his songs portraying playful snare combinations alongside explosions of sound.

The intricate detailing to Shigeto’s music reveals a musical background that revels in experimentation and offers the audience a journey into the diversity of his musical palate, which ranged from upbeat pieces to refined and intriguing lower-key tracks. Shigeto continues to stand out as an artist who enjoys surprising his listeners, and most of all, enjoys performing to them. It proved to be a must see gig.

Jules Barkan

photo: thefourohfive

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