AMN Reviews: Patrick Shiroishi – Eye for an Eye (2020; Armageddon Nova); Descension (2020; Black Editions Group)

Saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi has been making his mark over the last several years with a string of complex and emotive releases. His collaborators include Vinny Golia, Alex Cline, Dylan Fujioka, as well as bandmates in progressive rock band Upsilon Acrux. As Winter turns to Spring, he is releasing two new solo efforts.

Eye for an Eye is a 35-minute exploration of the sopranino sax that was recorded live in March 2019. Shiroishi approaches it with a pointed form, eliciting discordant drones, piercing notes, multiphonics, and quick runs. Purely improvising, he moves fluidly between melodies and textures, all with an outside orientation and incorporating extended techniques as needed. Shiroishi is perhaps at his best when blasting through angular themes at high speed. Aside from this general experimental approach, there is little in the way of a stable character or progression. This results in a disjointed listening experience that is unpredictable, tense, and exhilarating.

Descension is a different animal.  Also recorded live, this time in the angst-ridden fall of 2016, Shiroishi plays amplified tenor through guitar pedals.  With this setup, he is able to distort his tones, as well as generate echoes and reverb patterns that simulate multiple voices. At points he outright wails in anger, frustration, and sorrow. Compared to Eye for an Eye, this release is more structured and features a rather consistent dynamic range.  Rhythmic elements provide an underlying base for the exploration of dark emotions and the deja vu of history repeating itself.