Shigeto – The New Monday – Review

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By Jack

Far removed from the Monday blues that are its namesake, Michigan based writer/producer Zach ‘Shigeto’ Saginaw has crafted a wonderfully sharp, thoughtful collection of slow-jams on latest LP The New Monday.

‘Detroit Part II’ opens the album with a meditative beat and squiggly descending bass. It showcases Saginaw’s technical nous, compiling brittle digital textures whilst recreating the warmth of analogue and tape. The production of The New Monday has a luxurious, variegated quality and is the best sounding album since Thundercat’s Drunk.

Tonally Monday is at home with Bonobo’s Black Sands and DJ Shadow’s The Less You Know The Better. Shigeto has an omnivorous appetite, incorporating jazz, funk and elements of rap into his compositions. Whilst not all of these adventures are successful, when it works, Shigeto is able to evoke something unique.

‘Ice Breaker’ and ‘In Case Your Forgot’ are wonderfully slick cocktail lounge IDM. On the rap numbers ‘Barry White’ and ‘Don’t Trip’ Shigeto leans towards a more volatile and propulsive tone. These are less convincing and, to some extent, raise a fundamental question of The New Monday: is this a soundtrack for the VIP lounge or the dancefloor?

Regardless of this divergence in tone, it is hard not to be pleased by this album. A challenging listen, but not too challenging, Shigeto finds a nice balance between the groove of Air’s ‘La Femme D’Argent’ and the latter-day business of Flying Lotus.

Inspiration for The New Monday was derived from Zach’s experiences in Detroit. It isn’t the romantic treatment given the Midwest in John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’ or Manhattan in ‘New York State of Mind’, but it is an affectionate tribute nonetheless.

The New Monday has a carefully upbeat tone that suggests a guarded optimism, emulated in the lyric “[Detroit] can have it if she wants“.

By the time the album closes on the sound of emulated sax on ‘When We Low’, Shigeto has done right by himself and his muse, and established The New Monday as the high water mark for urbane sophisticate electronica.

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