Japanese, New York-based alto sax player Tamio Shiraishi was back in the late seventies a co-founder and synthesizer player of the experimental-avant-rock Fushitsusha (不失者) alongside guitarist Keiji Haino. Since relocating to New Work Shiraishi has developed an idiosyncratic sonic language with his alto sax, using different mouthpieces and focusing on microtonal multiphonics, and often performing in New York’s cavernous subway stations.
«そら (Sora)» (sky in Japanese) is a solo album that was recorded at the reverberating space of the Issue Project Room and at the Thousand Caves studio in Queens during 2019. The seven pieces offer distinct insights into Shuraishi’s unique language. The opening «い» suggests a quiet yet vocal choir of songbirds that resonate and share similar vocabulary, repetitive cycles, and silent segments with the songs of humpback whales. «ろ» alternates between raw, machine-gun-like noisy effects (one of his earliest compositions was called «Machinegun Tango», 愛欲人民十時劇場, Pinakotheca, 1980), and fragile multiphonics, distilled to minimalist, pure gestures, sometimes sounding almost as transparent sine waves. «は», «に» and the brief «ほ» deepen the minimalist, delicate veins, but these pieces offer strange but playful themes. The fragile, almost silent sound of «へ» resonates soft, electronic, and more machine-gun sounds. The last «と» makes full use of the reverberating space of Issue Project Room and sounds as Shiraishi walks and plays in this space, letting his singing sax echo from different angles.
Tamio Shirashi (as)