I briefly contemplated a shorter review of this album, along the simple lines of, “Fuck me, this is good!” And I stand by that sentiment but I realise a tad more detail concerning my reaction might help. So,…
That initial drone… pinning the attention down, cue the fluttering of helpless wings as that pin twists and throbs, oscillating up and down the vibrational spectrum before abrasively sculpting a sincere and direct melody. An appeal. Maybe a cry for help. Perhaps a warning… This disc is strong meat, throwing out anger, pain, frustration and hope and peace in great smears of sound… and that’s just the first five minutes and handful of notes.
It’s atmosphere. It’s sadness. It’s absorbing and unexpected. Shiroishi’s tone is brutally expressive, and so heavy; the purity of mass.
And glorious agility: Tomorrow is Almost Over is a free jazz DNA exploration, notes leapfrogging, turning back on each other, twisting gradually upward through a howling storm of distortion and occasional shredded vocal chords. Universe, are you listening?
And finally, the payoff. After the raw striving, a balm of voices and swelling sound – we’re here. And ‘here’ is? A zone of exhausted elegy. The sense of relief at surviving the storm. Not pretty but definitely beautiful.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a Patrick Shiroishi recording I don’t like. But this? This is special.
Fuck me, this is good.
Once There Was Only Dark
Grandchildren of the Camps
Tomorrow is Almost Over
Above the Black Heavens is Endless
Patrick Shiroishi: Tenor Saxophone, Effects & Voice
Descension is available on vinyl or download via Thin Wrist.
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