When: Tue., Feb. 16, 8 p.m. 2016
On last year’s self-released For Me & Ladie, Chicago rapper, producer, and saxophonist Sen Morimoto glides his frictionless, soulful, intimate vocals over tinny keys, snaggletoothed sax, and percussion as thin as rice paper. There are precedents for fragments of his sound—when I first heard the album I connected it to the effervescence of J-pop and the fun-house-mirror way in which vaporwave reimagines Muzak. But Morimoto doesn’t allow those musical ideas to restrict him or lock him up in a vise. He refashions the sounds he draws from into ebullient bursts that hit at bizarre angles but never undermine his relatability. The blended nightcore soul of “Bae” hits with a percolating warmth, and Morimoto’s croon on “Torture Love” nails the way affection outlasts conflict. Idiosyncratic Chicagoan MC Tree shows up on the latter track as the album’s sole guest, and though he’s about a decade older than Morimoto—and faces different romantic struggles—his world is nonetheless connected. Because once the scrapes are over they both just want someone to stick around while the bruises heal.