The music of Zach Saginaw, who records as Shigeto, has always cross-wired of a host of different musical influences. His EPs Semi-Circle and What We Held Onto explored his grandmothers experience from a US internment camp through ambient, beat-driven tracks, using samples of his grandmothers voice. His debut album Full Circle was a culmination of these EPs, employing obsessive field recording and meticulous percussion to create sumptuous instrumental hip-hop. 2012s sophomore album Lineage was a musical journey through his heritage set to the sounds of jazz, hip-hop, funk and folk. And 2012’s No Better Time Than Now was an album about living in the moment, with songs that seemed to be harbingers of change and immediacy (“First Saturn Return,” “Soul Searching”).
On Intermission, Saginaw places all of those disparate sounds side by side, offering a snapshot both of where he has been as an artist, as well as where he is going. “Intermission grew out of the idea that I have all of these places I want to go; even though I’m not there yet, these are six little signposts along the way.” In the years since No Better Time Than Now, Shigeto’s experience as a musician has only deepened. He recorded tracks for the Detroit rapper ZelooperZ, and performed with jazz legend Dave Douglass’ High Risk
Project. “I couldn’t accept the fact that I was hanging,” he laughs. “I was like, wait, I dropped out of jazz school, how does this work?” “But what it did was make me realize that music is music—you don’t have to be a certain type of musician or trained in a certain way in order to contribute to something. It was very liberating.”
That sense of liberation comes through in every track on Intermission. It’s not electronic music, it’s not jazz, it’s not hip-hop—it’s all of those; “Pulse” blends glacial electronics with plinking vibraphones (“That song is kind of a dancefloor-type song, which is different for me,” Saginaw says). On the other end of the spectrum entirely are “Gently” and “Deep Breathing,” two moody, spacious, beat-less songs that spin soft strands of synth over empty air. Taken together, the songs tell the story of an artist with a broad musical background stretching out and exploring his influences. “When I’m having a lot of fun, that’s how I know when I’m on to something,” he says. “Like the first time you ever realized you could plug a microphone into your interface and record your own sounds, and your whole world was changed. Intermission is like that for me—its about getting that feeling again.”
Giles King Kwakeulati Ashong, known as Kwake Bass, is from Lewisham, South London. A keen drummer since the age of 5 years old, his passion has led him to become musical director for both Sampha and Kate Tempest’s latest tours. He has played with the likes of Lianne La Havas, Mica Levi, Joey Bada$$, MF Doom, Roots Manuva, Shabaka Huthcings, Novelist and his own four piece - Speakers Corner Quartet and duo =CoN+KwAkE=. His role as a producer has grown through his exploration of live electronic improvisations and the studio experimentation of what lives between the cracks of structured programming. In addition to music, he also holds a working relationship with production company Lemonade Money, having presented his own segment in ‘Oh My Gosh’, a production made for Red Bull TV.
After moving to Asia for six months in 2014, Yuki Ame was formed as a conceptual alias as response to identity within Western Music and for the first two years of production retained an anonymous presence online. Returning from Asia, Yuki Ame moved to Bristol, UK and fell into the strong electronic music scene in the city, whilst studying Medicine before converting to an arts major in humanities, the latter interest informing articles on the philosophy of music and identity.
Conceptually Yuki Ame began as a method for releasing music that is unshaped by cultural or biological associations. Since appearing live, this has morphed into a conceptual alias for performance and release of music without bedding in any singular genre or scene, as has become apparent from the wide range of artists Yuki Ame has played shows with. Rather like Albert Camus’ ‘L’etranger’, Yuki Ame wanders musical landscapes without ever embedding in the seriousness of genre or identity, a perpetually contemporary reflection on modern music and an intrinsic focus on the internal human condition.