Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Patrick Shiroishi - the sparrow's tongue (Fort Evil Fruit)

A very rich and enjoyable family  affair, though with dark edges, constructed by Shiroishi (alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, field recordings, snare drum), using the voice of his mother, Uzuko, to recite poems (tankas) written by his grandfather, Seiji Inoue.

The first track, the brief, 'The Footsteps of Crows' sets the mood with a chorale-like nest of saxophones serving as the bed for a short, calmly read text (all the tests are in Japanese). 'Grasshopper Tactics' expands the sound field with soft chimes and distant sounds of children's voices and, eventual chanting mixing with hoarser though still gentle saxophonics and, maybe, some bowed or otherwise rubbed snares. The saxophone gradually coalesces into a lovely sequence that recalls, for me, some of Marion Brown's more lyrical playing. 'The Crocodile's Dilemma' is more abstract still, with fluttering, breathy reed work and an increased portion of electronics (? field recordings? snare?), with the serene voice of Uzuko Shiroishi serving as a fine, steady center. The anxiety level increases with 'Be a Lion, I Will Still Be Water', a sinuous, near-repeating saxophone line creating a tense atmosphere, threaded through dark, brooding electronics, the voice peeking through, receding. Finally, in 'When the Dog Got His Cate Eyes', airy  multiple saxophones quietly observe among the birds, playing half-melodies, lovingly, then fading before a few closing words. A thoughtful very charming set.

Shiroishi's bandcamp page

Danketsu 9 - Thahraas (Never Anything)

Shiroishi also appears, on tenor sax, with Danketsu 9, in the company of Amandeep Brar (accordion), Ang Wilson (flute), Jason Adams (cello), Kelly Coats (flute), Ken Moore (double bass), Mallory Soto (voice), Noah Guevara (guitar) and Pauline Lay (violin). This releases is comprised of a single, 24-minute piece, performed live, that's basically an improvised drone, with some general elaborations offered as possibilities by Shiroishi. The players begin with a smooth, tonal near-unison, very pastoral, various instruments moving slightly off-chord to create an engaging line, like a multi-plaited rope. At several points, I was reminded of a couple of historic drone-like constructs: George Lewis' 'Homage to Charles Parker' and portions of Centipede's 'Septober Energy (!), especially with regard to the voice contributions. The music fluctuates, shudders, sends off tendrils this way and that while maintaining the central stem. About midway through, more liberties are taken, lead by Shiroishi's tenor; the drone never entirely disappears but becomes increasingly difficult to discern beneath the flurries of guitar, voice, flute and tenor especially as things grow increasingly agitated. Soon, things settle back down, the overall tone similar to, though maybe a bit deeper than, the one that began the work, deeply idyllic.

Danketsu 9 @bandcamp

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