Mike Shinoda — ZIGGURATS — EP Review

Alternative | Electronic | Hip-Hop

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Find out more about ZIGGURATS here

If you asked a random person who Mike Shinoda was, the most likely response would either be one that affiliates him with his input towards Nu Metal band LINKIN PARK, or they simply wouldn’t realise that he was one of the bands members in the first place.

With the heart-breaking passing of LINKIN PARK lead singer Chester Bennington, and the disbanding that followed, I feel that some listeners might’ve stopped there, in regards to Mike Shinoda’s commitment to music.

If what I am assuming is true, it is unfortunate. Beyond the days of LINKIN PARK, Mike Shinoda’s own discography is actually very solid.

What primarily comes to mind as a case and point when I say this, would be his 2018 album Post Traumatic, which was a heartfelt and artful depiction of Shinoda’s own grief, and nothing short of a masterpiece.

What we got after this album, was last year’s triad of mixtapes that Shinoda dropped. Titled Dropped Frames (Vol.1, Vol.2, and Vol.3 respectively), these mixtapes did carry the unique element of having fans collaborate with Mike via social media to create these tracks. However, I felt that Mike Shinoda’s aesthetic got lost in translation as a result.

Aside from these two, we do of course have Shinoda’s debut album The Rising Tied, which released all the way back in 2005; I simply thought that album was certainly worth a mention, given what I had claimed in this review’s opening segment.

Nevertheless, this review is regarding Shinoda’s newest project, here and now, towards the end of 2021. Mike has decided to end the year on a innovative note with his new EP, ZIGGURATS.

On the surface, ZIGGURATS seems like your typical short EP. While Shinoda has donned this as a “mixtape”, it is more so the style of the project that could be linked more to that categorisation. As for the runtime, ZIGGURATS has a duration of under 7 minutes, and a total of four tracks. With that being said, I simply feel comfortable donning this as an EP; and so do the streaming services by the looks of it.

I really enjoyed how well this EP flows from one track to another. It definitely works in Mike Shinoda’s favour, when it comes down to this EP being an immersive experience, despite its short runtime. The whole thing kind of feels like one big dynamic single, which I actually really like.

Musically, ZIGGURATS seems to give us the familiarities that fans have come to expect from Shinoda at this point. But notice my use of “on the surface” a few paragraphs back. There’s is so much more to unpack about this EP that meets the eye; and I discovered all of it just moments before sitting down to write this review.

More importantly than being just an EP, ZIGGURATS is a collection; a collection of NFT’s and audio files that are advertised as generative.

I should disclaim that the term NFT is extremely new to me, and I’m still trying to come to terms with how it all works. What I can gather, however, is that if someone buys this EP via the ZIGGURATS drop website, they would have to do it through some kind of cryptocurrency (again, a very new term to me). The “generative” element would then come into play, gifting the listener with a random NFT (which I assume serves as the cover art), and the music itself. But what I like about the music itself, is that the assembly of sounds seem to be different for each listener. That way, you’d essentially be getting “a listening experience like no other”, in the truest sense.

Unfortunately, as I write this review, all of the unique versions of this EP have all sold out. But you can still view the NFT gallery, and previews of the individual audio here.

As much of what makes this EP so unique is slightly beyond my understanding, I feel that there is little more for me to say about this EP, other than how much of a reflection of Mike Shinoda’s innovation it truly is.

Favourite Tracks: Genius Bar | CTRL C CTRL V

Least Favourite Track: Cheat Codes

Kenji Kobayashi Productions

Enjoyment: ★★★★ | Memorability: ★★★★ | Atmosphere: ★★★

Uniqueness: ★★★★★ | Satisfaction: ★★★★ | Narrative: ★★★

Final Score: ★★★★

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