News, Reviews

Sen Morimoto Signs To City Slang and Shares New Single “If The Answer Isn’t Love”

May 15, 2023
Photo credit: Sammy Sutter

Signs to
City Slang

Releases new single ‘If The Answer Isn’t Love’

Chicago artist Sen Morimoto has released a new song and video, ‘If The Answer Isn’t Love’, from his forthcoming third album and first with the venerable City Slang label in partnership with his own Sooper Records.

On ‘If The Answer Isn’t Love’, Morimoto cruises through jazz inflected verses, bristling with tension, into joyous, honeyed choruses and fuzzed-out funk guitar solos. There’s a palpable sense of weight and sincerity to the lyrical delivery, with Sen truly wondering what the answer could be, if not love. There’s also bursts of jazz-cat flair and playfulness to his performance, as he pushes his music into exhilarating and unexpected new directions.

Speaking on the track Sen says: ‘In the face of imminent climate disaster, war and unending sickness it’s natural to start considering what will remain and what might have made it all worth it. I want the sound of my music to reflect that same urgency – instruments warbling and splattered over the beat, melodies tangled and contradicting. I wrote this song about the enduring power of love and the struggle to hang onto that feeling when in crisis.’

The single arrives alongside a video that Sen Morimoto co-directed with Chicago production outfit New Trash, framing him sitting precariously on a steel beam amidst a Hitchcockian cityscape to vertigo-inducing effect. The set is based on the famous Lunch atop a Skyscraper photo, signifying Morimoto’s stance as a working-class musician in a capitalist-driven industry.

Such a bountiful creation, Sen always brings sincerity and sublime instrumentation to build these immersive landscapes. Filled with buoyancy, vivid textures and this overall mood that becomes intoxicating and lifts the listeners’ spirits. Sen’s creations also have immense appeal. A release that fluctuates its course, through adventure and compelling harmonies. Layers of experimental elements add to the blazing atmosphere.

Sen Morimoto has previously released two albums to wide acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, KEXP, FADER, Vice and more; 2018 debut Cannonball! and a 2020 self-titled follow-up via his own label Sooper Records. A prominent member of a tight-knit and prolific DIY scene in Chicago, ‘If The Answer Isn’t Love’ is the product of Sens’ first time in a professional studio. Working at Chicago’s Friends Of Friends recording studio and drafting in members of his community to flesh out the songs, the track was engineered by Brok Mende, with Ryan Person on drums, Michael Cantella contributing bass and KAINA on backing vocals.

Sen packed up and moved to Chicago from New England after high school, where he spent the following years cultivating a deep relationship with the Chicago music scene at large, crossing genre lines and building bridges between them. Washing dishes in restaurants by day and sharpening his production skills by night, Sen quickly became well known in the city as an exciting ingredient to add to any musical recipe. His search for musical connection eventually led him to join Sooper Records, a local label founded by collaborators NNAMDÏ and Glenn Curran, as a co-owner of the label. The small label quickly gained notoriety in Chicago for releasing genre-blurring records and uplifting artists from Chicago’s community of musicians to international stages. They released their debut album Cannonball! and sophomore self titled album through Sooper Records which catapulted him into a life of constant touring across the US, Canada, Japan and Europe. Sen and Sooper now team up with the hugely esteemed City Slang for his forthcoming 3rd LP.

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