Claire Rousay & Patrick Shiroishi – Now Am Found

10.6.21 by Matty McPherson

They came nestled in the tote bag; two clear tapes with beige, illustrated j-cards fit to adapt into an ankle tattoo. (The tote bag was also quite useful at fitting entire artist tape collections, boomboxes, or hoagie rolls but this is Tabs Out, not Totes Out.) Although there was no standard procedure — well that’s a bit of a fib. Any tape, whether it is from Claire Rousay’s own Mended Dreams or Windham Hill is going to have to go through the walkman test as well as the surround sound exam; some listens are for the ears only, others for the space as well. In the case of Claire Rousay and Patrick Shiroishi’s collaborative Now Am Found, it continues to evade proper listening protocols in any scenario outside the surround sound exam.

Rousay and Shiroishi make music that truly deserves full sensory and spatial recognition (the lack of liner notes itself contributes). Giving life to field recordings is not an easy task, yet both’s solo efforts have readily dug into the details that invoke many mental images of the mundane and the subliminal centripetal/centrifugal prowess they carry. Whether it’s a trip to the market or a saxophone solo coming through the rain, the two have an uncanny way of transporting a listener and their surroundings directly into the ferric oxide. Thus, listening to the domestic sounds of their collaborative tape on headphones felt too clinical! The gas burners and spoon sounds were not things I wanted to concretely register. Yet, with multiple speakers, I could allow a subconscious effect to burrow up, and thus really take the tape in as “music playing in the other room” (continuing a bit of a streak from last year’s New Computer Girls split). 

I’m glad I did it this way, as both Patrick and Claire are in a strange, isolated places on this tape. They subvert the notable characteristics of their recordings, meeting each other in small glistening pockets to bring them together! “Spring Dawn House” is just that, a suggestive subdued effort that I felt transported into as I began to do my laundry and crack open a seltzer (to which the tape did so as well)! But besides those effects, if you listen closely you can hear a faint melody being hummed and whistled, one that a guitar and synthesizer respond and coo to as well. It’s a process continued elliptically on “I Remember What It Was Like”. Just a few chords, a whisper, and an open highway; no auto-tune or sudden sax blasts, respectively. It flows with a meditative maxim. I confess, shots of the house and its haunter from A Ghost Story, as much as those of unwavering domesticity that Loving readily brought flashed through my mind on “Last of the Many Times Over”. Why these images? Perhaps a reflection of my daily time spent on quiet mornings in an empty house like today. You can get lost in your own house sometimes when it’s peaceful and let the years collapse at once.

Side B’s “Silent Moon” and “Brushed Too Hard” continue the lackadaisical, wandering sense of domesticity, but begin to complicate the mixture of elements. “Silent Moon”, in particular, features one of my favorite Rousay recordings–a trash compactor or grinder, under a thousand-yard stare of a guitar motif. “Brushed Too Hard” deconstructs clock winding to a rhythm while brings out the synth horn bops on what could charitably be described as “the most jubilant track to feature Patrick Shiroishi’s to date”. It never fails to bring a smile to my face, especially as Patrick coos me a lullaby like he’s just one room over and the tape comes to a close. 

Now Am Found is bundled with Twin Bed in a Tote Bag Combo Pack at Mended Dreams’ Bandcamp page in an edition of 200. These tapes and the tote are extremely worth your time.

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