Detroit Part II
"Detroit Part II" is a sonic homecoming four years in the making, a journey through the history of Detroit's rich musical legacy and into the heart of House.
Following Saginaw's life of performing jazz, it is only fitting that "Detroit Part II" should evolve out of a jazz gig. "I was putting together a show at the DSO with a live band. The event was at capacity. Marcus (Elliot) couldn't get in. 30 minutes before the show, (Bassist) Josef (Deas) starts texting Marcus, and we have the idea to get Marcus in–by playing with us," Zach Saginaw says. The drop-in of a live saxophonist, unplanned, was a beautiful moment. "Marcus literally breathes life into the song."
The A-side, "Detroit Part II", feels like a neighborhood party or an evening on the front porch. "Detroit Part II" features live, swinging percussion, sultry, dark vocals, a fat Juno bass line and the summertime warmth of a tenor saxophone.
If "Detroit Part II" is an early summertime evening, the B-side's "I94 Mix" sounds like 4 a.m. at an after hours rave. Dubbier, funkier and heavier, the saxophone becomes muted and sampled, with feverish swells boiling to the surface. The bass line becomes hypnotic; shakers guide every movement and beat.
If "Detroit Part II" starts the party, the "I94 Mix" ends it.
Shigeto, coming out of the Intermission middle period of his career, had been productive: he purchased a building with his brother Ben, the Portage Garage, to build a studio; he recorded two albums worth of material with ZelooperZ as ZGETOBOYS; started DJing weekly at MotorCity Wine at the Monday Is The New Monday party, with Kenjiro, Bill Spencer, Charles Trees, and Ryan Spencer; was performing ambient and jazz sets regularly with a now-regular set of collaborators, including Marcus Elliot and Ian Fink, and, although he wouldn’t say so, hit a point of productivity and clarity only your mid-30s can provide. Zach finished The New Monday and sent early versions to Ghostly, and wanted to release the new, house-oriented songs as a slow build, a promo campaign on Ghostly’s imprint, Spectral Sound. However, Sam Valenti IV, the founder of Ghostly International, said, “no.”
Zach approached Sam Valenti of Ghostly International to see if he would be willing to do white labels for the songs from The New Monday on Spectral Sound, but Sam, who has known all three of them for years, and encouraged Zach to follow his own path and make a label. “I felt it was important that Zach and the team put everything into it and really feel it all,” he recalls. “You can tell that that’s the case so far with each release - from the design to the way they bring each copy to the shops. It’s a labor of love.”” - Feature on Portage Garage Sounds in Detroit Electronic Quarterly, No. 14
Retelling a story, some details are bound to be lost in the game of telephone. The “No Better Time Than Now Just Do It” encouraged by Sam, actualized. Ben and Zach had discussed a record label for years, and with a new home base, the Portage Garage, they named it Portage Garage Sounds. Five minutes later, Zach texted Vinnie Massimino, who had been attempting to release a Kenjiro/Shigeto ambient album on his own record label, Chambray Records, to see if he wanted to help. Vinnie agreed.
Detroit Part II’s release was something of a well-intentioned long-con. Ghostly received ©&℗ credit, but wouldn’t say a thing – The New Monday wouldn’t be announced for months, and lips on the details of Detroit Part II were sealed. Detroit Part II would, for a period, only be available on vinyl, limited to 500 pressings, resulting in demands for a repress, poor quality rips on Russian YouTube channels, and high resale prices on Discogs.
Recalling the absurd productivity of Portage Garage Sounds’ Movement 2017, the label was launched on a Friday, records were packed for shipment on Saturday, while stayed up all night designing the artwork for A Piece of the Geto before an art park rave before 4:20 Sunday morning. All the while an art exhibition featuring the ambient “Barry White” was at the Red Bull House of Art that weekend, and we’re pretty sure Charles Trees and Bill Spencer DJed test pressings of PGS 002 at after parties, not telling anyone– it’s hard to not feel sentimental. To tell the complete story of the first months of the label, the successes, failures, group therapy sessions, the exhilaration of getting records from Archer Record Pressing, in the page for Detroit Part II would be an involved effort, lengthy. In short, we couldn’t have done it without our friends.
Detroit Part II, released on Portage Garage Sounds on May 24, 2017.
©℗ Ghostly International / Portage Garage Sounds
Written and produced by Zachary Shigeto Saginaw
Recorded on West Grand Blvd. and at High Bias Recordings
Mixed by Christopher Koltay and Zachary Saginaw at High Bias Recordings, Detroit
Design by Ben Saginaw and Vinnie Massimino
Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann at Complete Mastering
A1. Detroit Part II
B1. Detroit Part II (I94 Mix)
Tenor Saxophone by Marcus Elliot on “Detroit Part II”
“Detroit Part II”
Director/Producer: Brandon Rottman
Concept/Director of Photography: Edward Knight, Jr.
Editor/Producer: Shane Patrick Ford
A Production of The Work Inc.
The New Monday
The album that was left in the dark at Detroit Part II’s announce
Spencer & Saginaw - “Real Talk”
A new alias, another take: the second release from PGS, released two months before The New Monday, featuring Walter Williams (ZelooperZ), in collaboration with Bill Spencer. Features “*b_W (AmbACiD Version),” the ambient mix of “Barry White”
ZGTO - “A Piece of the Geto”
Recorded concurrently with The New Monday, the début LP from Shigeto’s side project with Bruiser Brigade’s ZelooperZ
Continuing where The New Monday left off, featuring 3 new tracks and a remix of “Detroit Part II” by Detroit’s legendary Dez Andrés