Today’s Song: Shigeto Provides a New Approach to Jazz Fusion on “MCW”

Stripped back and computer-free, Shigeto explores a new but familiar jazz sound with latest single “MCW,” a retelling of previous works.
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Listen: “MCW” – Shigeto

The sonic whirlwinds that Shigeto conjure up are nothing short of breathtaking, expertly combining the smooth melodies of jazz with the bustling rhythms of electronic music. The end result is always otherworldly, leavings jaws dropped wherever played. But take one of those items away, specifically the electronic components, and what happens? He answers with “MCW.”

‘Versions’ album cover – Shigeto

Zachary Shigeto Saginaw has been surrounded by jazz and R&B works through most of his childhood, and it shows in a vivid fashion with his own music. He started off with electronics only, slowly building himself up into the unique electronic, jazz-inflected tracks he is known for today. “MCW” takes a different approach, one where a fuller band sound is present. Keys, bass, saxophone, and percussion find a home on this track, melding together in perfect harmony and aiding in helping Shigeto’s musicality remain unmatched.

“MCW” is an interpolation of a previous track from his Lineage album titled “Field Day.” The main rhythmic hook remains the same, but with the varied instrumentation, sonic flair, and textured presentation, it’s almost an impossibility for one to be able to discern the two, making “MCW” an expansive and new experience for listeners and fans of any variety. The track begins with steady cymbal hits that build into conga percussion beats. Mix that in with the slick bassline shortly after and a funk and samba hybrid is formed, and all within a few seconds. Saxophone joins then after, following some of the patterns the xylophone took hold of on “Field Day,” giving it a twist and creating something fresh and bold.

The instruments continue to stir together with keys laced in the foreground, providing additional textures to sink into. Around the first quarter, the track slows down; the keys and percussion no louder than a whisper. The saxophone gently makes its way back into the fold along with the sparse rattling of shakers that provide an alluring dreamscape that one could easily lose themselves to. Chimes can soon be heard around the halfway point as the saxophone continues its enchanting melodies, only enhancing the dream-like quality the track carries. Percussion rejoins and immediately causes a storm of foot-tapping and gentle sways.

Shigeto © Laura Lewis

The keys begin to increase their presence towards the track’s end, leading the charge for the other instruments, resulting in an onrush of bass, percussion, and saxophone, all coalescing with each other in the most spectacular of fashions. And then it stops, the whispers returning to gently waft listeners back down. With the last bass note plucked and the final key hit, the track ends on a feeling of total captivation, as if the world had stopped for around six minutes. And what a beautiful six minutes those were.

So, what does happen when Shigeto takes out the electronic component to his music? Easy: he maintains his place as a top musician with an incomparable sense of musicality, showing no signs of stopping any time soon. “MCW” explores funk basslines, uplifting conga beats, and sweltering brass instrumentation to make one of the best jazz fusion tracks of the year while also showcasing the raw talent of Shigeto. His upcoming EP, Versions, aims to expand on the ideas present on “MCW,” and if the rest of the tracks are just as hair-raising, then this will be one of 2019’s greatest EPs.

Fans can expect to pick Versions up on September 20 via Ghostly International.

Listen: “MCW” – Shigeto

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