"Full Circle" by Shigeto

Shigeto
Full Circle

Ghostly International
2010

Review

Shigeto's Full Circle is easily one of the best beat music records of the year. I'm saying that about a genre that has had some amazing albums already this year - Four Tet, Flying Lotus and Teebs to name a few. Yet even amongst some amazing albums in the same (sub)genre in 2010, this one to me seems to be the most consistently amazing of the amazing.

Seriously. Holy shit is this some good shit. I know that that isn't a very professional way to say that this is a good album. I know that..and yet reducing the thing to some expletives seems to get the point across as succinctly as possible. It puts the emphasis in the statement in a way that lots and lots of lines about particulars ever good. So that's the summary judgment folks. Let me recap that one more time:

Holy shit is this some good shit.

Allow me to qualify that a little better. This is truly a beat music album - meaning if you aren't into that sweet intersection of Hip-Hip, Jazz, Downtempo-almost-8-bit music and weird synth sounds and robots playing their own music on their transforming ghetto blasters while they conquer us all, then you probably won't like this. This is the other end of that "Electronic/Instrumental" spectrum. This isn't accessible as an MGMT or an LCD Soundsystem (who put out an amazing album in that sound this year) and this is definitely not Girl Talk (no obvious samples here - again, not a knock against Girl Talk [you have to love him, you just have to] just a means to qualify this sound). You will never hear this on mainstream radio unless it's like 3am on a station that comes in from a weird college or something.

Now that I've managed to say very little about the actual songs here, I don't even know where to start. Let me say the only non-5-star tracks on here (they are solid 4's, in my opinion) are "Sky Of The Revolution", "Look At All The Smiling Faces" and "French Kiss Powerup"...and it's mainly because compared to the other songs on here, these two just don't seem to have the same consistent momentum. They get there, but it takes a bit longer to blow your mind than the other tracks.

BEGIN SHAMEFUL GUSHING

"Ann Arbor Part I" is just all kinds of ill. It sounds like some scary shit out of an Argento flick. Better yet, it's like if Argento directed that new Tron flick.

"Escape From The Incubator" sounds like Pacman. Pacman with rhythm. Will Pacman become the Beat Music's Bo-Diddley Beat? I mean, that's how it starts. In many ways, that's like the whole "copy someone else's shit until it turns into your own" advice via "Finding Forester". Because yeah, become something else it does after all that Puckman nonsense. Something dope.

"Relentless Drag" is about ambiance, I think. I mean, it is barely melodic - but it is compelling. It's the most hypnotic you are going to get when it comes to this beat music stuff. This is amazing stuff though. Transcendent even. Maybe it's because I drink the Kool-Aid and have been conditioned via my love for Hip-Hop that eventually turned into my appreciation for the music without the MC that turned into my love of this. Maybe it's my love of video games. I know that's not something most music-heads are going to look at and be like, "True" ('cause they'd probably be more like "Nerd"), but that's real. I mean to me music is music regardless of the medium in which it is exposed. So let's be honest with each other - I mean you and I, the 5 readers looking at this right now - most of this beat music stuff could just as easily be the soundtrack to a brand new Phantasy Star game as much as it could be the hottest music that nobody is talking about coming via the beat scene.

"So So Lovely" was named what it is named because - on this album - track after track is just love heaped upon more love for yours truly. So So Lovely is named as if Shigeto just listened to the shit and was like, "that's So So Lovely". Take DJ Krush and remove the sense of forboding and doom and you get this.

END SHAMEFUL GUSHING

...I think you get the point. If you love beat music, just get it. 'nuff said.

4.700 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Ann Arbor, Part 1 (04:08) 5
2. Escape From the Incubator (03:26) 5
3. Relentless Drag (04:07) 5
4. So So Lovely (02:43) 5
5. Sky of the Revolution (05:09) 4
6. Brown Eyed Girl (03:49) 5
7. French Kiss Power Up (03:47) 4
8. Ann Arbor, Part 2 (02:45) 5
9. Children at Midnight (02:34) 5
10. Look at All the Smiling Faces (05:03) 4