Recommended: Patrick Shiroishi’s Black Sun Sutra – “Anfinsen’s Landmark”


“Athialowi” is the first moment where a sense of melodic intent is able to get through on Anfinsen’s Landmark.  Before that, it’s nothing but the unrelenting ferocity of Patrick Shiroishi’s Black Sun Sutra.  The transition should probably be jarring.  Strangely, however, it possesses a certain flow, and a lot of that has to do with how the saxophonist molds all of that fury into something not unlike a drone… where the chaos is slowly transformed into a focused intensity, so that when it does finally let up, the next step forward into an edgy melodicism comes off as quite natural.  And when Shiroishi follows it up with a piece that balances its volatility with a persistent groove, the context of all of that opening ferocity shifts even further away from the initial impression of chaos, and now looks more like an extended preamble to what lies at the heart of the music all along.

Nothing about this album will ever get described as tuneful or songlike, and it’s not a wild assumption to think that’s probably not something that was ever on the table for discussion when this recording was first being conceived.  But the idea that the forces of intensity can be molded and shaped to conform to specific and cohesive imagery seems pretty on point to how this music shakes out.

And just to further strip things down and show what lies beneath the album’s immense opening presence, Shiroishi ends the album, recorded at Oak Park, California’s Church of the Epiphany, with a solo piece that takes the solemn locale to heart before building it up to a place where the next, natural step would be “Human Suffering,” the album’s opening track.

Your album personnel:  Patrick Shiroishi (alto & baritone saxophones), Noah Guevara (guitar), Robert Magill (tenor saxophone), Ken Moore (double bass) and Sergio Sanchez (drums).

Released on Creative Sources Recordings.

Listen to more of the album at the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon | eMusic