Sen Morimoto has released Diagnosis, his third LP and first with City Slang in partnership with his own Sooper Records. The 13-track-long effort marks a fundamental shift both sonically and thematically for the Chicago artist. Exploring a wide range of genres and musical influences— alternative pop, dark rock, bright jazzy-infused pop, glistening orchestral soundscapes, and even subdued singer-songwriter sounds are detectable within the musical revelation that is Diagnosis. The topical shift as well brings exploration of childhood, American identity, nostalgia, and the insidious nature of late-stage capitalism— a notable change from his previous introspective works such as his 2018 debut Cannonball! and the 2021 self-titled follow-up. Sen will head out on select live dates in support of the album later this month including a home town Thalia Hall album release show. See below for full dates.
In contrast to the serious themes explored on Diagnosis, Sen’s accompanying visuals explore the narrative arc of the album in an over-the-top comedic trilogy of videos. The trilogy, directed by Morimoto and New Trash film crew, take a sardonic jab at the music industry and the pitfalls of capitalism in a looped timeline farce that follows a convenience store clerk who sells his soul for stardom (“Diagnosis”)..
Initially intending to use his art to “help people and stuff”, Sen ends up falling prey to the vampiric nature of the music industry, ultimately falling to his death from a steel beam above the Chicago skyline while filming a music video (“If The Answer Isn’t Love”). The final installment of the trilogy “Pressure On The Pulse” finds an evil record label executive (played by Chicago comedy, drag and music icon Alex Grelle) celebrating the profits of Sen’s posthumous album streams in an unhinged dance sequence. With visual references to films like Phantom Of The Paradise, Clerks, and The Crow, the visual universe of Diagnosis calls back to MTV era Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry music videos, using humor to balance and deliver the album’s earnest message.
Morimoto is doing a series of special Diagnosis record release performances in seven cities around the USA (with information about those below), before hitting the road for additional dates in 2024. Attendees of 2023’s Pitchfork Music Fest in Chicago got to see Morimoto perform some of the new tracks in a performance that was named by Pitchfork as one of the best of the festival. Watch Morimoto’s performance of “Bad State” from Pitchfork Fest 2023 Here.
1. If The Answer Isn’t Love
2. Bad State
3. St. Peter Blind
5. Pressure On The Pulse
7. Feel Change
8. What You Say
12. Forsythia (レンギョウの旋律)Y
UPCOMING LIVE DATES
11/10 @ Icehouse – Minneapolis, MN
11/11 @ James Theatre – Iowa City, IA
11/25 @Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL
11/29 @ The Drake – Amherst, MA
12/01 @ Milkboy – Philadelphia, PA
12/02 @ Elsewhere Zone One – Brooklyn, NY
12/07 @ El Cid – Los Angeles, CA
FOR MORE ON SEN MORIMOTO