AMN Reviews: Kyle Motl / Patrick Shiroishi – Apparitions (2022; Notice Recordings)

Bassist Kyle Motl and saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi are musical birds of a feather. Both are equally comfortable in solo, duo, and small group settings. Both also have the ability to play straighter, composed pieces as well as exploratory free improv that stretches the bounds of their respective instruments with a gritty physicality. This is their first pairing, though it comes from the same 2019 session as their trio release with T. J. Borden.

Motl readily adapts his playing to numerous musical forms – classical, jazz, or experimental – all of which are represented on Apparitions, especially the latter. He switches from textural bowed rubbing and sawing to plucked excursions up on down the neck, and then back with more than a few extended techniques along the way. Shiroishi warbles and wails in an expressive fashion, as has become his signature style over the last few years.

An example of how Motl and Shiroishi mesh is on Dropping Ashes. The track begins with an introspective drone that moves about rather than remaining monolithic. Motl’s bass growls and he bounces the strings in a metallic fashion. Shiroishi begins in a similar vein but moves on to employ a wide range of registers as he crafts angular and non-repeating themes. Around the halfway mark, Motl is quietly riffing while Shiroishi generates harsh, high-pitched multiphonics. A more melodic – yet still moody – interlude follows before the track ends with plaintive saxophone cries over shifting low-end textures.

Apparitions will be released on March 15 by Notice Recordings.