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Thursday, January 18, 2024

Patrick Shiroishi – I Was Too Young To Hear Silence (American Dreams, 2023)

By Irena Stevanovska 

The descriptive track names and the album’s title induce a profound silence. Because the names themselves tell more than anything, I would be able to write about them. Albums like this are among my favourites to review; they offer enormous freedom and offer space for contemplating thoughts to come out.

The album’s title I was too young to hear silence, immediately brings one into retrospection, giving an awareness of how the mind and conscious have changes with passing of years, altering our perspective on sounds, music and silence. Patrick Shiroishi, in his description, explains going into a cave-like parking lot at 1:00 a.m, performing a single take on his saxophone, merging it with the silence and the natural reverberation of the surrounding space.

Such albums feel so natural space that it seems they become a part of the listener, or to put it better, the listener becomes a part of the soundscape of the album. Track by track, it’s interesting how each name perfectly encapsulates the essence of the music played. The opening track, “stand still like a hummingbird,” transfers the tranquility of the world into sound, making the listeners stand still and observe the world around them. The subsequent track, “I almost said,” evokes a feeling of stifled, with the saxophone describing the feeling of struggle to express suppressed words. Transitioning into moments of energetic sounds, mirroring the inside feeling of the suppressed thoughts.

The album continues, weaving magical sounds with amazing natural reverb, evoking a transcendental state within the listener. One track that made me come back to this album was “How Will We Get Back to Life Again?”, there is a mystical vibe to it, which immediately brought me to think of the philosopher Gurdjieff, the track’s name reinforces this connection; Gurdjieff’s main idea was that people live in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep”, but it is possible to be awaken to a higher state of consciousness. As Gurdjieff himself being a composer and a (Sufi) dance teacher, he likely considered music as a mean to achieve that higher state of consciousness. Shiroishi, in my view, here opened a gate into getting back to life again, or through Gurdjieff’s philosophy, a gate into awakening into the higher state of consciousness.

The album offers a 40-minute turning off of the world, allowing the listeners to attune themselves into mystical frequencies played solely by a single instrument. So if you would like to take a break of the “hypnotic sleep”, I highly recommend giving this album a listen.