Formats and Editions
Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist Sen Morimoto’s third album Diagnosis sees him flip the script. After releasing two albums – 2018 debut Cannonball! and a 2021 self-titled follow-up – via his own Sooper Records, the artist signed to City Slang to co-release his third album alongside Sooper, and it came at a time of fundamental change. With mental health discourse and artists’ trauma teetering between serving as positive forms of expression and becoming dangerous, exploitative selling points, the true and just recipient of your ire should be the systems themselves. Through writing introspectively on past albums, Morimoto set the groundwork to write Diagnosis from a different perspective. “I wanted to investigate those same questions, but outwardly towards the systems that govern us and to society at large,” he says. The 12 tracks here, recorded at Chicago’s Friends Of Friends studio with a few close collaborators, skip between funky, bright jazz-pop (‘Bad State’), intricate guitar-based tracks with a Radiohead feel (“What You Say”) and orchestral wonderlands “Forsythia (レンギョウの旋律)". Highlight “Pressure On The Pulse,” meanwhile, is a devastatingly intimate, quiet song that then explodes into an exuberant, animated whirlwind of sax and drums. A chameleonic figure at the album’s core, he can rip out a sax solo, dive deep into intimate singer-songwriter territory and lead massive, roaring alt-pop songs with equal aplomb. Morimoto describes his musical reference points for the album as “equal parts Funkadelic and Dinosaur Jr.,” and while these touchpoints can be heard all over the record, it doesn’t feel beholden to them, instead using their inspiration before moving beyond it.