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Sen Morimoto Gives Listeners His ‘Diagnosis’

Written by on November 3, 2023

Chicago artist Morimoto’s highly-anticipated third solo album Diagnosis, out Nov. 3, blends notes of jazz, art rock and hip-hop to provide social commentary on capitalism and the current state of society.

Morimoto stopped by the Vocalo studio ahead of the album’s release of his album Diagnosis, and shared his experience performing at Pitchfork Music Festival, the inspiration behind his album and the details for its drive-in movie debut with Vocalo’s morning host, Bekoe.

After having attending Pitchfork Music Festival since he was 17, Chicago artist Sen Morimoto performed his first solo set at the festival this past summer. He recalls playing at the festival several times over the years, in bands supporting fellow Chicago artists KAINA and Lala Lala, but it was not until 12 years later he owned the stage for himself.

“[Pitchfork Music Festival] is one of my favorites in the city,” Morimoto remarked in his conversation with Bekoe. “It’s just like the right size for a festival. It’s still small, but it’s really exciting … It feels like everybody who works in music gets to meet up and see everyone they haven’t seen all year, so it was really special to get to do.”

On-air in the Vocalo studio, Sen Morimoto discusses all things Diagnosis and his drive-in album release party. Morgan Ciocca/Vocalo Radio

During his set at Pitchfork, Morimoto teased the release of Diagnosis and performed some of his new songs including the title track. Diagnosis is Sen Morimoto’s third solo album, and analyzes capitalism’s effect on the human experience and its impact on every aspect of life. Looming crises, including climate change and social and political unrest (to name a few), were the motivating forces behind the album. Morimoto’s album starts slowly with “If the Answer Isn’t Love,” positioning love as the potential solution for society’s problems, and intensifies with songs like “Pressure on the Pulse,” posing central questions about the current state of dread in a theatrical way.

On Sunday, Oct. 22, Morimoto gave listeners a chance to hear the album before its release during a listening party at ChiTown Movies, a drive-in movie theater in Pilsen. He recalled telling KAINA how his favorite way to hear his music is through the car speakers, and she had the idea to contact the theater.

“[It] feels like a personal space, and you’re kind of like inside the music,” Morimoto explained. “[KAINA] was like, ‘If you do it at a drive-in, everybody will hear it in the car,’ and that was just so exciting to me.”

RELATED: Sen Morimoto Debuts ‘Diagnosis’ At Chi-Town Movies

Sen Morimoto’s Diagnosis debuted during its listening party at Chi-Town Movies on Oct. 22. Morgan Ciocca/Vocalo Radio

The free event offered listeners an exclusive album debut over the car radio, accompanied by music videos and visualizers on the big screen. The album was followed by a screening of 1970s comedy horror rock opera Phantom of the Paradise, which loosely inspired the album’s visuals. Attendees listened from the comfort of their own cars, feeling the curated sense of nostalgia Morimoto hoped to provide from sitting at the drive-in, and everyone honked their horns in applause when the album closed.


Diagnosis was released Friday, Nov. 3, and is available to stream on all platforms. Sen Morimoto will be performing the album at Thalia Hall on Saturday, Nov. 25. Find more information at senmorimoto.com.

Vocalo host Bekoe and Sen Morimoto outside of the Vocalo Studio on Oct. 26. Morgan Ciocca/Vocalo Radio


Keep up with Sen Morimoto on Instagram.

Interview and audio production by Bekoe

Photography by Morgan Ciocca

Written introduction by Blake Hall

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