Michigan-born, Brooklyn-based artist Shigeto is one of my favorite artists on Ghostly International. AKA Zach Saginaw, Shigeto has been making collages of electronic beats, richly-textural releases, many of them following the narrative of his family’s experience in Japanese internment camps here in the US during World War II.

“What We Held On To” is a surprisingly-deep EP, following his last “Semi-Circle” and coming before the upcoming full-length “Full Circle.” It’s released completely free for download from Ghostly, and the tracks (included here) have also made it to his SoundCloud account if you want to share your comments on that favorite spot exactly one minute, 17 seconds into the third cut.

Shigeto stopped by the Ghostly International workshop I spent last week attending, and walked us step by step through one of his productions. His main axe of choice turns out to be Propellerhead Reason, making use of programming Reason’s sweet sounding effects. (He showed us some programmatic delay taps in Reason’s RV7000 reverb module. He also revealed that he plays a lot of rhythms live to maintain their feel. In this case, when he did turn to the programmed Redrum modules, he set the grid to 64th notes to actually program in swing syncopations.

Both technically and compositionally, though, collage is central, in cut-up samples, in sounds gathered on his field recorder (explaining a lot of those wonderfully-gritty timbres), and in the personal identity narrative interwoven with the tracks. Taken together, for me Shigeto’s records are worth repeated visits and contemplation.

Here’s a listen to the tracks themselves:

spring textures by SHIGETO

after she smokes by SHIGETO

Bitter Sweet by SHIGETO

what we held on to by SHIGETO

grandmas words // rise out of the stone by SHIGETO

[NEW MUSIC]: SHIGETO’S ‘WHAT WE HELD ON TO’ EP (FREE!) [Ghostly International]