Patrick Shiroishi


There’s a heaviness to Patrick Shiroishi’s solo debut for Thin Wrist — both in the music itself and the inspiration behind it. The artist began the project with a focus on Japanese internment camps during the second World War, ones in which his own grandparents had been held. The bridge to the present was not a far one to cross, tying the border camps of the current administration to those since regretted and admonished for public record. Doesn’t seem like the lessons of the past carry a long enough shadow, though and Shiroishi turns improvisation into a conduit for feelings too overwhelming to plot out in advance. Tying in American homegrown hypocrisy to atrocities abroad — “The record is a representation of how I had been processing the horrors of the present…the sadness of the loss of life not only in the states but through the genocides in Sudan, Myanmar, Iraq and Syria, says Shiroishi, and it’s clear that within the pieces frustration wells up to the point of physical pain.

As a player, Shiroishi is a consummate collaborator, having found himself among ranks with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Danketsu 10, Borasisi, Nakata, Kogarashi; Komeshi Trio, and leading Womb, Oort Smog, and Upsilon Acrux among others. Here, though, the only focus is Shiroishi, his sax and a smear of electronics that submerge the strident blasts from his instrument in a mire of undulating despair and euphoric release. Descnecion is a visceral listen and Shiroishi seems to have planned it as such. The pieces are laid out in the order that he recorded them, improvised on the spot and only framed by the embellishments later on. The rest is an outpouring of grief, anger, broken trust, shame, frustration, and resilience. The Nation is currently bubbling over and more than a few are reaching a breaking point. Shiroishi’s vision is just a few months ahead of the wave, but his historically charged context holds as true as ever for an expression of disillusionment with the structures that are inflicted upon us and institutions that carry out crimes in our names. This might well be the soundtrack of the summer.

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