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Shirioshi, Patrick: Descension [VINYL] (Thin Wrist)

A layered work of solo saxophone, electronics and noise from LA free improviser Patrick Shiroishi, the work often dark and primal contrasted with warmly passionate playing, in a work that reflects on the history of concentration camps for Japanese-American citizens during World War II, and on the current struggles of minorities around the globe; cathartic.

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product information:

UPC: 881626590669

Label: Thin Wrist
Catalog ID: TW O-LP
Squidco Product Code: 29205

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded live at 2575 Mission, in Los Angeles, California, on November 24th, 2016.


Patrick Shiroishi-tenor saxophone, effects, voice

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Artist Biographies:

Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist & composer based in Los Angeles.

Solo Saxophone

Upsilon Acrux (w/ Noah Guevara, Dylan Fujioka, Mark Kimbrell & Paul Lai)

Corima (w/ Andrea Calderon, Paco Casanova, Ryan Kamiyamazaki & Sergio Sanchez)

In the Womb (sax-drum duo w/ Dylan Fujioka)

Oort Smog (sax-drum duo w/ Mark Kimbrell)

Nakata (sax-piano duo w/ Paco Casanova)

Sunreader (w/ Paul Carter & Ethan Sherman)

Hoboglyphs (w/ Henry Barajas, Jason Rodriguez & Jeeshaun Wang)

Black Sun Sutra (w/ Noah Guevara, Rob Magill, Ken Moore & Sergio Sanchez)-Patrick Shiroishi Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Once There Was Only Dark 07:42

2. Grandchildren of the Camps 04:16


1. Tomorrow is Almost Over 10:00

2. Above the Black Heavens is Endless 04:44
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Patrick Shiroishi's Descension is a beautifully elegiac and unflinchingly primal album. With richly layered solo saxophone, electronics, and voice, the album is a meditation on the legacy of a dark history and its echoing relevance in the present era. Descension is a spiritual journey that reveals Shiroishi's deeply reflective and unique musical vision.

Over the past decade Shiroishi has established himself as one of the key artists in Los Angeles's free improvisation and avant-garde undergrounds. An incredibly inventive and versatile player, Shiroishi has collaborated with everyone from epic post-rock maximalists Godspeed You! Black Emperor to Radu Malfatti, the Austrian composer who pioneered the ultra-quiet reductionist school of improvisation. Shiroishi has also led or been at the center of innumerable ensembles which currently include Danketsu 10, Borasisi, Nakata, Kogarashi, Komeshi Trio. His previous groups include in the Womb, Oort Smog, oxox, Hoboglyphs, and Upsilon Acrux.

On his debut album for Thin Wrist Recordings and his first solo vinyl release, Shiroishi makes a deep examination of his own ancestral history.

"In the fall of 2016 I started researching heavily into the concentration camps of Japanese-American citizens during World War II," says Shiroishi. "My grandparents on my father's side met and married in the camps at Tule Lake, a place my grandmother never spoke about to me when she was alive. As I began to dive deeper, it naturally began to sink into my improvisations and work."

In the context of events that were unfurling in real time, Shiroishi's work began to bridge the past with the present, using improvisation as the most immediate means of expression: "Everything on Descension was recorded in one take in the order that it appears," recalls Shiroishi. "I didn't prepare any melodies or form prior to the session; I anticipated playing layers and layers of noise. The record is a representation of how I had been processing the horrors of the present -- the sadness of the loss of life not only in the states but through the genocides in Sudan, Myanmar, Iraq and Syria, anger that migrant children are being separated from their parents and being held in concentration camps again, the frustration that times really are frighteningly similar to when my grandparents were growing up."

Rather than create any sort of literal or agitprop statement, Shiroishi's work tapped into a timeless spiritual tradition of music -- closer to those of artistic heroes such as Coltrane or Ayler."-thin Wrist

"On June 28, 1965, John Coltrane convened a big band unlike any big band that had come before it. The piece that they recorded that day, Ascension, looked resolutely ahead to new freedoms and possibilities, some of which musicians are still dealing with today.

You might remember that November 2016 was a month of reckoning for many Americans, and saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi was one of them. As the nation's racial antipathy amped up, resonating with intensifying xenophobia around the globe, he delved into his family's personal history with dispossession and imprisonment. His paternal grandparents had met in Tule Lake Isolation Center, a vast camp in far northeastern California which at peak capacity held 120,000 Japanese-Americans. While he researched, an electoral sufficiency of the country's population embraced the presidential candidate that championed said antipathy. On November 24, 2016, Shiroishi played a solo concert in which he thought about those things that had happened and were happening, and communicated those thoughts in a language that had been honed by John Coltrane (among many others) on albums like Ascension (among many others). Some of the music from that concert became Descension.

Like its predecessor, Descension opens with a big blast of noise. But it isn't a recognizably reedy sound. Besides his tenor saxophone, Shiroishi wields a selection of effects, many of which one would be more likely to find at Guitar Center than the Horn Connection. The first sound on the record is a stab of feedback that sharpens, shudders, and then morphs into some more recognizable saxophonic sounds. The horn emits short shudders, which gets looped in order to support a bluesy melody. As the looped melody multiplies, Shiroishi builds that blues into a highly emotive but carefully controlled ventilation of anguish. That piece is followed by another loop-based construction, "Grandchildren of the Camps," on which Shiroishi's lead voice stands atop a heaving platform of see-sawing reeds. It's not as harsh as the first track, but even more elegiac in tone.

The other side opens with the album's most free jazz-like moment. Unenhanced by pedals, Shiroishi punches out brief, furious phrases that are more reminiscent of Peter Brötzmann than John Coltrane. Then a hellish miasma of electronic distortion rises up behind him, evoking another predecessor - Borbetomagus. Like that trio, Shiroishi can peel your face with noise. But unlike them, he seems to have something in mind beyond sheer sonic sensation; the name of the piece, "Tomorrow is Almost Over," may be hopeful or despairing, but it wants you to know something, and think about what you know. Then the final track, "Above the Black Heavens is Endless," gives literal voice to Shiroishi's sentiments as he sings through the same rig that's encrusted his tenor's tone. The entire album lasts less than 27 minutes, and that feels like enough to get the message across."-Bill Meyer, Dusted Magazine

Get additional information at Dusted Magazine
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