Colorful, Dynamic, Meticulously Arranged Loopmusic From Baritone Saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi
The big recording meme of 2020 was solo albums. Among the most interesting to hit the web so far is baritone saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi’s new solo release Hidemi, streaming at Bandcamp. Often using a loop pedal, he multitracks himself into a sometimes elegantly brooding, sometimes exuberantly rhythmic, catchy wind ensemble.
He constructs the opening number, Beachside Lonelyhearts from a somber tableau to an aggressively circling intensity, only to let it drift away into the waves. Tule Lake Like Yesterday is a lattice of staggered, minor-key blues loops with a solo at the center that moves from ominousness to a frantic squall. No surprise, considering that the title refers to the World War II concentration camp where Japanese-Americans were imprisoned.
Shiroishi follows the same pattern in Jellyfish in the Sky, but with a considerably more squiggly, playful series of concentric phrases. What Happens When People Open Their Hearts begins airy, spacious, and genuinely tender, but watch out!
Stand Up and Let Us Witness This Ourselves is built around a staggered bassline, and much shorter than that long title might imply. Shiroishi pulls out some daunting extended technique for the laserlike precision of the fluttery phrases in To Kill a Wind-up Bird: it’s the most cynically funny track here.
If Shiroishi is to be taken at face value, Without the Threat of Punishment There Is No Joy in Flight is bullshit, for many obvious reasons. He could also mean that sarcastically: the theme itself is on the carefree side and the most improvisational one here.
He goes for cartoonish in The Dowager’s Clipped Wings: it wouldn’t be out of place in the Daniel Bennett catalog. Shiroishi closes the album with The Long Bright Dark, a showcase for rapidfire articulation and prowess on alto sax as well, and is the lone moment with vocals: “Is this the end of the storm?” Shiroishi hollers in Japanese.