AMN Reviews: Patrick Shiroishi – (holy alone) (2020; Bandcamp); Kamran Sadeghi – Between Us (2020; Dragon’s Eye Recordings)

Isolation during the worldwide pandemic has affected different people in different ways. Some are struggling while others are no worse for wear. It has impacted musicians in a similarly divergent fashion with many (and I mean many) releasing albums of field recordings and/or solo playing recorded at home. Two of the latest – each focused on different roles of windows – are featured below.

Patrick Shiroishi – (holy alone) 

Saxophonist Shiroishi is a powerful and emotive performer, whether on solo recordings or in a wide variety of groups. During the first week of lockdown, he recorded environmental and incidental sounds of everyday life in isolation. Opening his windows to the world, the resulting pieces include rainfall, passing traffic, footsteps, doors opening and closing, voices and conversations, background radio programs, and random noises from indiscernible objects. Shiroishi overlays a smattering of sax, object percussion, and drones atop these sounds. The instrumentation is measured and unobtrusive. More sound art than performance, (holy alone) provides an interesting observation on isolation. We are rarely far enough from one another for the world to be silent. And yet for all the non-stop noise, we can still lack the close interpersonal interactions that define our humanity.

Kamran Sadeghi – Between Us

While still letting the environment make the music, so to speak, Kamran Sadeghi’s Between Us has a very different sound and feel when compared to Shiroishi’s efforts. Using windows to represent a filtering barrier between our inside and outside lives, he attached high-gain contact mics to his. The resulting EP-length set of recordings are more drone-like and feature little in the way of recognizable sounds. Bleak and rumbling, with occasional percussion patterns and echoing pulses, Between Us  is a stark reminder that we are all ultimately alone, but the layers of meaning can be found just beneath the monotony.

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