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Torn Light Records
1855 N Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60647
Open Everyday

Matsumoto / Shiroishi / Watanabe – Yellow

In stock


Yellow brings together acclaimed LA-based musicians Kozue Matsumoto, Patrick Shiroishi, and Shoshi Watanabe. With total expressive command of their instruments, the trio unfurls a brilliant and impassioned free improvisation of the highest virtuosic caliber that is at once anguished, defiant, and vigorously hopeful.

An astonishing musical work, Yellow is also a powerful political statement. The musicians came together on the basis of a mutual interest in exploring Japanese-American identity. Whereas each musician has variously demonstrated this interest in previous work, Yellow sees them come together to break down the apparent barrier between Japanese instruments and idioms and American avant-garde sensibilities, achieving a unified sound entirely its own without flattening the tensions of its disparate sources. The trio’s first meetings were concurrent with a stark rise in discrimination and violence against Asian-Americans – and the titles pull at this: yellow “Fever”, yellow “Peril”, yellow “Skin”. Dirge-like and full of passion, these tracks also register a subtle subversiveness whereby these derogatory slurs are reappropriated and reclaimed musically as fiery, vibrant, and brilliantly textural. This is a music both in defiance of the legacies of prejudice and in celebration of the complexities of identity.

An alternative vision of yellow is presented in “Gold” and “Dandelions”. In the first instance, the continuity between the tracks suggests a breaking down of social categories towards the horizon of a world enraptured by the unmitigated beauty of its own color. Nevertheless, in these two tracks something different occurs: percussive punctuations of space briefly suspend moments in which suddenly anything might be possible, in which something unforeseen and new might even be spoken. It is these moments which demonstrate that truest virtuosity evident everywhere across the album – a virtuosity which moves beyond mastery over an instrument towards that most profound of the improvisor’s abilities to listen deeply. What ultimately emerges from this is the sound of a voice: impassioned and resolute in its refusal to forget the past, in its admonition to face the present, and in its beckoning of a future.

– Adam Zuckerman


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Stock Level In stock
SKU 25029769