Inside Life

Recorded at Onix II Studio · Barcelona 2013/14
Piano & electronics · B.S.
Cello by Julián Kancepolski
Voice in track 3 by Mariel Aguilar
Track 3 is a tribute to Camille Saint-Saëns
Voice in track 7 · B.S.
Analog Mastered by Ian Hawgood · Tokio
Artwork & layout by Andy Ruggia · Buenos Aires

Release date: 12 Feb 2015 by ad21
Limited to 500 copies

CD available:
Denovali | Norman Records | Stashed Goods

Also available digitally from:
iTunes | Bandcamp | Spotify


1- Sudden Quietness
2- Freezing Point
3- Camille
4- A door opens forever
5- The Place where dying crows
6- Tea Leaves At The Bottom Of A Cup
7- Inside life

“Inside Life immerses the listener into magnificently expressive modern classical realms, tranquilly minimal, yet exquisitely nuanced, abundantly poignant and delicately filigree, where stirringly pensive sadness is masterfully counterpointed with hauntingly embracing stillness, while intensely evocative ambient subtleties are deliberately permeated by yearning haze. A truly fabulous bravura performance by Bruno Sanfilippo and his guests!”



Reviews

  • Not wept in a while? Then try this LP by Argentinian neo-classical composer Bruno Sanfilippo. The second track here ‘Freezing Point’ could melt men with steel hearts. A piano flutters in and out of the mix as if being caught on a breeze, the cello is used in a sparing but devastating fashion, appearing in the mix at just the right moments to add colour to the proceedings. It’s a short tranquil piece of escapist neo-classical and it’s gorgeous. Mastered by Home Normal head Ian Hawgood, the album contains seven pieces of varying themes within the framework of minimalist neo-classical composition. Generally more abstract than the beautiful ‘Freezing Point’, ‘A Door Opens Forever’ is full of reverbed, slightly discordant piano, cashback comes when the cello enters the fray, it’s not that involved and never over- plays so when it’s around you enjoy every moment. A fine album of contemporary composition sitting somewhere between the Home Normal world of drifting sound art and sweet sounding composers like Max Richter and Yann Tiersen.
    Norman Records
  • "If you have never heard of Bruno Sanfilippo, then this review offers you that chance, as this Argentinean composer - he lives in Barcelona since a very long time - has released a new album (his 19th already!). It is called Inside Life, and it takes you to the area between classical and minimalist music. With no more than piano, cello, electronics and voice, Sanfillipo builds wonderful compositions, in which silence is as important as the summary of the sounds that he conjures. Think of Brian Eno and Wim Mertens, but the music of Bruno Sanfilippo is even more minimalist, boned like the Cello Suites by J.S. Bach, but balder and much less decorated but in terms of ambience and atmosphere, Sanfilippo plays piano and electronics, Julián Kancepolski plays cello, the vocals are taken care of by Mariel Aguilar. The album starts with Sudden Quietness, in which the cello takes the lead, closely followed by the piano, with soft electronics in the background. The pace is slow, the atmosphere is solemn and cinematic, with a nice contrast between the groaning strings and the sharp-sounding piano. In Freezing Point the piano paints a gentle scene and the cello creates warm sounds, sometimes in the foreground, but just as often in the background like a shooting star. Camille is constructed with buzzing electronics and quiet, sometimes angular piano sounds, with the operatic voice of Mariel Aguilar as a shadowy echo in the distance. In A Door Opens Forever, piano and cello pull out all the stops, supported by subtle electronics. It is like a little symphony on the fairytale landscape that unfolds after opening a window: shades of green and yellow, but brown and amber too, with a layered pattern that suggests space and airiness, and then a dark cello, as a cloud obscuring the sun. The Place Where Dying Crows starts with piercing sounds in a ruined engine house, piano and electronics suggest warmth and security, but in the background you can hear the shrill sounds in the primitive workshop: hammers, anvils, falling metal. And there is room for silence, which is accentuated by the dark piano sounds that immediately follow. The cello trembles in the background and sounds like grinding metal. Tea Leaves at the Bottom of a Cup chooses a quieter path. Time for contemplation and intimacy, even melancholy. The atmospheric Inside Life closes the album with layers of electro and a singing cello. There is hustle and bustle, a sharp contrast to the intimate and private world of Bruno Sanfilippo. Inside Life by Bruno Sanfilippo combines neoclassical patterns with minimalism and ambient tones. It is quiet and yet very expressive music, as a cautious assembly of intense and subtle feelings, of light and dark, of abundance and scarcity, in which the listener is taken to strange, abstract and hallucinatory surroundings. Lovers of contemporary classical music should definitely give this album a chance"
    Peek-A-Boo Magazine
  • If you are not familiar with the term “ambient chamber music,” let this be album your primer. Acoustic instruments, an up-close and intimate feel, airy construction, potent emotion and unobtrusive electronic treatments. All of it is here on Inside Life, the latest from Bruno Sanfilippo. Over the last several years, Sanfilippo has been nudging himself in this direction, obtaining a bit of distance from his ambient/electronic background and showcasing himself as a masterful pianist and contemporary composer. Through his Piano Textures series and on his last release, the amazing ClarOscuro, he has cemented his reputation in this space. What makes Inside Life so very effective is its apparent simplicity. All tracks feature just Sanfilippo on piano and Julian Kancepolski on cello. Sanfilippo handles electronic augmentation, and does so with a very light hand. Underneath the dramatic and moving duet of “Freezing Point,” he adds a crackling band of static. It’s barely there, somewhere between a distant sound of sleet and the comfortably familiar scratch of old vinyl. It only truly makes itself known in the pauses. On “Camille,” a tribute to composer Camille Saint-Saens, the background is gently haunted by Mariel Aguilar singing a waking-dream aria. It is the sound of memory, or perhaps, in this instance, of the residual influence of its subject. Listen carefully to take in a long drone with the feel of a church organ working through the piece. On this track, too, there is a metallic rattling–again, very subtle–that almost makes this feel like a piece for prepared piano. Like there’s something in the belly, which is probably not the case, but the effect is intriguing. He is alone on “The Place Where Dying Crows,” a piece filled with a sort of stilted cadence and uneasy edge. Long pauses filled with resonance, odd and mildly startling thumps, the sense of a mind trying to work something through–the idea that something is not quite right comes not just from the title, but it permeates the atmosphere on this track. A buzzing drone underscores it, and Sanfilippo ends it with three discordant notes. A very affecting piece. Kancepolski’s support is invaluable here, both for its aching beauty and for heightening the feel of this being a personal performance by an intimate duo. His work on “Camille” is particularly perfect, and he lends soaring lines and a downplayed, repeating bass foundation of pizzicato notes on the title track. This is a seamless album, with no distinct line between acoustic and organic. It is just a singular, incredible whole, flawlessly balanced and soul-piercingly beautiful. Listen with the lights down low and let it just wash over you. Magnificent.
    Hypnagogue reviews
  • Bruno Sanfilippo is a talented musician and composer with a knack for creating intricate ambient melodies. Living in Barcelona and the founder of the ad21 label, his classically trained skills have been evolved and refined over an impressive 20 year career, collaborating with a host of well known musical names and being the driving creative force behind a number of feature film soundtracks. His latest album, ‘Inside Life’ was recorded throughout 2013/14, and is another elegant and beautiful chapter in his blossoming career. With a focus on minimalism, there is a intricately woven atmosphere of sweeping strings, arching piano notes, and haunting, wandering melodies. Although ‘Inside Life’ is in many way a contemporary classical piece, there is such a rich tapestry of techniques and influences woven into the album that it manages to transcend simple instrumentation and become a work of true aural majesty. Through the clever combinations of textures and tones, Sanfilippo has created a complex mixture of emotive songs, reaching through the melancholic chords of ‘A Door Opens Forever’ to the stirring, sometimes haunting tones of the title track, while managing to capture every inch of the emotive spectrum inbetween. In the 44 minutes that the album stretches to, the combination of piano, cello, pristine production, and sparse vocals create a riveting and deeply evocative journey through Sanfilippo’s musical landscape, and while it might be minimalist in terms of composition, there is more than enough contained within ‘Inside Life’ to make every listen thoroughly enjoyable.
    Anthem Review
  • Inside Life has got a devotional side to it; one that's not too far away from Popol Vuh's mid 70s output. Who said the art of making an album was dead? Inside Life by Bruno Sanfilippo is a great record, and (oh, happy day!) one of those that gets better and better as it goes along. After an unobtrusive (but perfectly respectable) beginning with Sudden Quietness and Freezing Point, the record seems to open like a flower with Camille, courtesy of a mix of ghostly voices, a minimalist, the Melodies piano run. A Door Opens for Ever - a sublime mix of minimalist electronic elements and soaring piano and cello parts - follows; and ramps up the emotional pressure. The listen is really something else and the two tracks capture you in their combined embrace for a dizzying ten minutes. It's a ghostly record too; The Place Where Dying Crows has this Mittel Europa, folky feel and sounds like a Teagrass record, or some of the more ghostly investigations undertaken by Hawk & a Hacksaw. There are elements of E'G records too; Tea Leaves at the Bottom of a Cup sounds like the sort of thing Roger Eno and Harold Budd would make in the mid 1980s. And at times Inside Life has got a devotional side to it; one that's not too far away from Popol Vuh's mid 70s output. In other words it's a mind blowingly beautiful record. Highly recommended.
    Incendiary Magazine
  • "This collection of delicate piano-based modern classical seeks to reflect the beauty that lies all around us. In terms of its sound, Inside Life isn't so far removed from soundscapes of Sigur Ros or the post-rock genre, though it largely lacks obvious instances of cathartic release. Nevertheless, Sanfilippo manages to create plenty of goosebump-inducing moments on this pensive, gorgeously-realized and wholly relaxing record. "Inside Life" The Best Bandcamp Discoveries of 2015.
    Scene Point Blank
  • Minimal, post-classical, ambient. Bruno Sanfilippo delivers his latest album of deliriously, delicate piano and string music. All of the tracks here masterfully balance an exquisite classical grace with a strikingly contemporary aesthetic. Subtle electronics, understated drones and static textures underpin many of the tracks; the remote operatic tones of Mariel Aguilar haunt the air on Camille (which sleeve notes explain to be a tribute to Camille Saint-Saëns) and Bruno's own voice is discretely woven into the fabric of the concluding title track. Bruno's piano work is astounding in its artful restraint and poignant delivery as he unfolds some of the most elegantly wistful and subtle melodies you're ever likely to hear. Adding to the intimacy of the music, incidental piano noises of frame and mechanism are occasionally included in the mix. Julián Kancepolski's sublime cello enfolds, accompanies or leads the piano in beautiful accord. ARTWORK Inside Life is presented in a tasteful card wallet of two symmetrical, plastic-free panels; the disc is neatly slotted into one panel. Artwork is simple, a single curling line loops and twists into a loose tangle from which emerges an arcing arrow stabbing at the title. The rear imagery reflects the front cover, but here track titles hang vertically below the projecting tip of the arrow. The AD21 logo and web address are also here. Inside is a pale duplicate of the outer cover, lighter, fainter - the only difference being the replacement of the track titles with brief credits. OVERALL Released via the artist's own AD21label, Inside Life is the latest album from Barcelona-based musician/composer Bruno Sanfilippo. The seven pieces here are all between five and eight minutes in length allowing for unhurried development of each concept, the hypnotic melodies gradually seeping into the consciousness like the formation of a blissfully introspective mood. Promotional material describes the music most aptly: "Inside Life immerses the listener into magnificently expressive modern classical realms, tranquilly minimal, yet exquisitely nuanced, abundantly poignant and delicately filigree, where stirringly pensive sadness is masterfully counterpointed with hauntingly embracing stillness, while intensely evocative ambient subtleties are deliberately permeated by yearning haze." Be aware that this is a limited edition of 500 copies although the album is also available for download via the usual digital outlets.
    Morpheus Music
  • “Inside Life” is a mature work of an experienced musician, classically trained, but captured by ambient over the years, yet not forgetting his roots; and the aforementioned album is a clear proof of this. Bruno Sanfilippo lives in Barcelona, but not much of the hustle and bustle of this city, that is as beautiful as it is big and noisy, pervades in his music. It’s more like a certain invisible wall separating the listener from the outside; as if Bruno, dealing with urban turmoil on a daily basis, was well aware that many people simply need the time to soothe their nerves when returning home, after a day of not always positive emotions. For some silence is enough, while others prefer to reset with music, and “Inside Life” is meant for such people. Published at AD21, Bruno Sanfilippo’s own label, the album contains seven pieces for piano, violin and electronics. The third element is subtle, sometimes imperceptible, but after further reflection absolutely indispensable. The synthetic factor is responsible for the space and deep breath of the music, as well as enriching the background on which the whole essence is mounted. And just thanks to the electronics the release should be understood as rooted in ambient aesthetics, instead of say, chamber music. “Inside Life” is very soothing and intimate. Not “sleepy”, and I wouldn’t describe it as serene either. “Inside Life” rather calms one down like sitting on the balcony of a seaside villa late in the afternoon, watching the waves crash on the shore. There are very rare moments when darker, slightly dissonant passages creep in, such as in “The Place Where Dying Crows,” yet it doesn’t essentially interfere with the inner self contemplation or the meditation of a beautiful landscape. I feel the spirit of Max Richter, also a bit of my amazing fellow countryman Jacaszek. Despite the dissimilarity of the music I can see a fragment from the project’s warmest and most static period, like in “Camille”, enriched with precious though subtle vocals by Mariel Aguilar. With all of this, there’s a vague melancholy drifting through the sounds. Listening to “Inside Life” I have a feeling that summer – although in theory it hasn’t even started yet – is about to end and autumn will soon appear, nice and warm, but nonetheless heralding winter. In such a blue-gold way Bruno Sanfilippo charms the listener. Sensitive souls will be carried away by this one, I’m sure.
    Santa Sangre Magazine
  • Quello creato da Bruno Sanfilippo è un mondo sonoro perennemente alla ricerca di minuti interstizi, che siano quelli tra le note del suo pianoforte oppure quelli di un’ispirazione ancora una volta caratterizzata da un’idea di sospensione brulicante vita ed emozione. Dall’osmosi tra luce e ombra del lavoro dello scorso anno (“ClarOscuro”) a “Inside Life” il passo può sembrare breve dal punto di vista concettuale, ma è in realtà significativo da quello della traduzione in musica di un filo narrativo che nei corollari del pianoforte dell’artista di origine argentina trova complemento fondamentale per plasmare una pluralità di suggestioni.

    Cambiano i collaboratori e in parte le modalità realizzative che hanno presieduto alle sette composizioni di “Inside Life”, lavoro nel quale Sanfilippo traccia un elegante itinerario, letteralmente, all’interno degli strumenti e della sua dimensione creativa. Il violoncello di Julián Kancepolski e occasionali vocalizzi astratti costituiscono l’unico complemento del dialogo tra note pianistiche ed esili detriti elettronici, sviluppato da Sanfilippo in pièce minimali eppure ben distanti dal formalismo.

    I brani sono come cortometraggi di sensazioni impalpabili, definite da filigrane armoniche e fondali brulicanti, che vanno dalla rilassata eleganza di filigrane armoniche di “Sudden Quietness” e “Tea Leaves At The Bottom Of A Cup” alla montante consistenza granulosa di “Camille” e, soprattutto, di “Freezing Point”, alla quale increspature elettroniche e austere volute d’archi conferiscono sensazioni di derive spettrali. Dalla desolata linearità delle iterazioni di note raccolte dalla cassa armonica del pianoforte di “The Place Where Dying Crows” alla complessità da sinfonia in miniatura della conclusiva title track, quella di “Inside Life” è, appunto, materia viva di un ambience risultante da una combinazione spazi vuoti e microsuoni, che del neoclassicismo offre una declinazione creativa, mantenendone intatti i contenuti immaginifici ed emozionali.

    Music Won't Save You
  • Sudden Quietness, the title of the opening track, aptly sums up the timbre of this exquisitely restful album.  This is Bruno Sanfilippo's 19th release so you have to believe him when he states, via his website, that he is mining an "inexhaustible source". The Argentinian neo-classical composer now lives in Barcelona where this album was recorded, at the Onix II studio.  The seven tracks feature Sanfilippo on piano and electronics with subtle cello accompaniment from Julián Kancepolski.  On Camille, a tribute to French composer of the Litzt school Camille Sain Saëns (1835-1921), the barely discernable voice of Mariel Aguilar adds a ghostly presence.  Sanfilippo's skill lies in creating a sense of stillness and the illusion of simplicity.  It is a study in calm which would be ideal as soothing background music or a soundtrack for practicing meditation.
    Martin Raybould
  • "Inside Life" is a contemporary classical work of art built upon piano and strings, which see Bruno Sanfilippo continue his quest through the quiet sonic landscape of minimalist piano and electro-acoustic music. Piano, cello, treatments and voice (on two tracks) form the heart of the 44-minute recording, a subtle constructed elegy of sadness and stillness with a sense of hope shining through. It’s the depth, space and emotion found in and between the notes creating an intimate, contemplative, melancholic-infused sound collage with a strong emotive current, which at times remembers of Brian/Roger Eno along Tim Story. Of the seven compositions, I regard "A Door Opens Forever" and the closing title piece exceptional, fluent and deeply emotional with a very sophisticated, airy and precisely layered sound design. "The Place where dying crows" visits more hallucinatory, abstract and rather strange territory, triggering and taking the listeners imagination elsewhere. All in all, Bruno’s long and hard work has payed off well on "Inside Life", a mesmerizing sonic ambience affiliated with neo-classical music, demanding close, focussed and in-depth listening
    SonicImmersion
  • The latest full length studio album from Bruno Sanfilippo is entitled Inside Life, an apt one given its stark and deeply introspective nature. For it, Sanfilippo recruited cellist Julián Kancepolski and the two work together in a stark, minimalist approach to create a pensive, sometimes bleak, exploration of introspective themes. There is a haunted stillness to each of these pieces. It is an uneasy melancholy rather than a gentle one, distracted by agitated thoughts and concerns. A gossamer sheen of electronics is spread like a veil over Sanfilippo’s austere, but impeccable piano and Kancepolski’s vibrant cello gives voice to the internal disquiet, nearly howling with torment at times. This is most in evidence in tracks such as ‘Sudden Quietness’ and ‘Freezing Point’. In addition, Sanfilippo incorporates vocals in fascinating ways as Mariel Aguilar lends her operatic voice ‘Camille’, a tribute to Saint-Saëns, and the title track in which we here the composer’s own voice floating in billowing waves of ambient drone along with Kancepolski’s cello lines. Of course, there are certainly moments of profound and serene beauty, most notably ‘A Door Opens Forever’ and ‘Tea Leaves at the Bottom of a Cup’. Inside Life is cerebral and exquisite, yet unflinching in its examination of an unquiet mind, an album that will alternately challenge and delight the thoughtful listener.
    Stationay Travels
  • Nell'aspra critica cinematografica espressa da Jonathan Demme nel suo film "Philadelphia", ad un certo punto si assiste ad una scena tra il protagonista Tom Hawks (Andy) e il suo avvocato difensore Denzel Washington (Joe), che ne rappresenta il suo high point: Andy sta ascoltando "La mamma morta" cantata da Maria Callas, ed il brano diventa il veicolo confessionale per esternare il profondo sentimento di vita celato in Andy e convincere paradossalmente l'altro alla sua difesa. Qualcosa del genere accade anche in "Camille", un brano di Inside, ultimo lavoro di Bruno Sanfilippo, un musicista elettronico al quale ho dedicato ampio spazio in queste pagine e che negli ultimi anni sta affrontando un rischioso lavoro di compenetrazione negli anfratti della modern classical; "Camille" è un tributo, totalmente scevro da sentimentalismi, rivolto al compositore francese Camille Saint-Saens, in cui il piano incrocia, in tutto l'arco della composizione, il canto sfumato di Mariel Aguilar che canta un passo dell'opera di Samson and Dalilah. La similitudine, peraltro drammatica, tra gli accenni della Callas e quelli di Saint Saens, sta nell'atto di separare il commento dal ricordo: la penetrazione nel subconscio dell'ascoltatore o dell'osservatore rimane ancorata sullo sfondo, con il canto che si prende il compito di trasportare la memoria; è un modo per ribadire la presenza surreale del compositore francese, costruire echi di parte del suo stile nell'aria, appoggiandosi ad un racconto o ad un piano narrativo. Ma in "Inside" le suggestioni sono multiple: con un buon grado di vicinanza all'estetica di Harold Budd, Bruno esibisce in "Freezing point", di fianco a rumore bianco, un piano sibillino che esprime un mondo senza tempo, con un violoncello che esce dalle mura dei quartetti di Beethoven (malinconia e pioggia osservata da un vetro interno); "A door open forever" indovina un assetto celestiale tra cello-piano che si frantuma in silenzio meditativo (Satie che incontra i pianisti new age); "The place where dying crows" solleva particelle di dolcezza estatica attraverso un piano leggermente preparato, con il cello che tesse filigrane simili a discreti rumori metallici; "Inside", la title track, ribadisce l'esperimento di Camille dove però il canto etereo elaborato da Sanfilippo (la sua voce), ha l'obiettivo di unire spiriti occidentali ed orientali. Cuore, semplicità e diretta emotività, intelligenti soluzioni per quello che può considerarsi il suo miglior lavoro nella modern classical anche in rapporto all'universo di quello che è stato prodotto dal filone in questi ultimi anni.
    Percorsi Musicali
  • Since there are so many directions that music can and does head in, it’s difficult as a listener to really get a grasp on modern classical music. Not all of these directions are especially pleasant to listen to, and it seems that an “Emperor’s New Clothes” scenario comes into effect with regard to some – people don’t quite know how to take the compositions, but they must get good, right? RIGHT??? The latest album from classically-trained Barcelona-based musician and composer Bruno Sanfilippo is unlikely to provoke such speculation – Inside Life is an album of fine craftsmanship that’s exceedingly easy to listen to. Existing in the same realm as many of Brian Eno’s works, this album represents a different style of ambient music than is produced by the artists on the Across the Mountains compilation in that it revolves around more obvious composition of a very minimalistic nature. Snippets of melody flutter in and out of audible range during the course of Inside Life, but a glowing background warmth may be its most prominent element. Universally quiet and restrained, the seven tracks here feature delicate piano melodies and subtle accompaniments. The title seems appropriate given the very earthy tone of these works, and I liked the fact that Sanfilippo was confident enough in his musicianship that he didn’t need to incorporate sound effects of tweeting birds, babbling brooks, or gentle breezes to achieve what he wanted here. Opener “Sudden Quietness” has a slight apprehensive quality to it established through the use of whirring electronic tones which churn in the background. The twinkling main piano melody here is a bit mysterious but nonetheless calm with an almost agonizing cello adding additional texture to the piece, and following a relatively loud middle sector, it finishes with a virtually silent concluding section. Sanfilippo’s piano is more percussive, bassy, and resonant in “Freezing Point,” a perhaps more introspective number which features omnipresent background crackle. Shrieking and screeching cello again joins in to add occasional punctuation to the main theme, and the piece eventually fades out as if to suggest an ongoing, inevitable process. Written in dedication to Romantic era composer Camille Saint-Saëns, “Camille” is substantially brighter in terms of its overall mood, with distant vocal choir heard occasionally while a clanging, church bell-like melody sounds out. Organ chords drone on throughout the piece, and a listener is left with a sense of serenity missing from the opening pair of tracks. Possessing arguably the strongest moments of melody on the album, “A Door Opens For Ever” may also have the loudest individual sections heard on it. Flowing piano and strings bellow out a lyrical theme over occasional ticking rhythms and throbbing bass tones before the substantially quieter “The Place Where Dying Crows” takes things back to a somewhat darker sonic landscape. Never quite rising out of a moderately depressive haze, the piano here is pained and deliberate, with scraping strings and odd metallic sounds working to create an odd sense of ambiance. A slow tempo can’t stop “Tea Leaves at the Bottom of a Cup,” about as close to a genuine piano solo track as is found here, from seeming almost hopeful in context and the album ends with a sweeping title track that conjures an exquisite sense of wonderment. Though it lacks grandiose moments of cathartic release and is more interested in providing gorgeous but pensive sonic backdrops, Inside Life does contain plenty of goose-bump-inducing beauty of the Sigur Ros variety, and I think it would have crossover appeal to fans of atmospheric or post-rock. Without doubt, this supremely beautiful album is ideally suited as relaxation music, yet it’s also interesting enough to be appreciated as active listening material. In any case, I’d have to label it as a tremendous achievement for composer/performer Sanfilippo. Inside Life definitely won’t appeal to those who seek instant gratification from the music they listen to, but it will be most rewarding for more patient listeners willing to give in to its allure. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wound up being among my favorites of the year.
    BandJack
  • Bruno Sanfilippo is an electroacoustic composer based in Spain. From childhood, he had an obsession with the ever evolving sound possibilities of the piano. Unable to buy a better grand piano after graduating from the Galvani Conservatory (Buenos Aires), Sanfilippo extended his musical travels into the study of electronic music. He has been shaping diverse musical landscapes for more than 20 years. On his website, he shares a sincere apology: “I do love the sound of the piano just as much as I love electronic-based music. I know some times I can get some listeners confused by this, if I do, I’m so sorry. But I will passionately explore both fields”. The gorgeous soundscape that has evolved from ‘Inside Life’ is one worthy of enthusiastic and attentive exploration. There’s an other-worldliness to this sonic landscape that requires quality headphones. I listened through a set of Beyerdynamic DT440s and enjoyed immersing myself in the tidal shifts of this aural treat. Sanfilippo uses depth of field and panning to maximum effect in these compositions creating a listening experience that’s wonderfully three dimensional.‘Sudden Quietness’ of the album’s opening is an excellent guide to the width of the sonic map as a synth pulses gently left to right. A cello calls solitary in from the middle left and further back. It trails behind the piano which is gently treading water in the lower register buoyed only by occasional shifts to the upper register. There’s a warmth to the sound of both instruments which is only punctured briefly by the shifting undercurrent of the synth.‘Freezing Point’ makes fantastic use of noise and distortion. The opening descends like a fog and fades to the background as the piano wanders in. We’re guided into the deep blue with ‘Camille’, from the underwater cabin of cooled organ and prepared piano shards of lights a glimpsed from an exquisite soprano vocal line. If it’s a stressful day, this track comes highly recommended for its dream-like beauty.Piano bells ring and till gracefully as delayed percussion pulses from left to right in the hopeful ‘A Door Opens Forever’. There’s a darker tone and more biting texture to ‘The Place Where Dying Crows’ with its macabre prepared piano clanking close to the ear. Whistles and scratches pipe and haunt from its ghostly opening. The final tracks ‘Tea Leaves at the Bottom of the Cup’ and the album’s namesake ‘Inside Life’ return us to the water. Piano motives move peacefully through an aquarium of reverberant cello and synth drones.If you’re wanting a very gentle introduction to electroacoustic music then I would suggest giving this album a listen. There’s little variance in tempo throughout, however, each sound world dabbles in ethereal textures and spatial difference. You must forgive Sanfilippo for his love of electronic music and the piano – because he really does use both to such exquisite effect.
    Cut Common
  • La ad21 è uno dei pochi templi che conservano la tradizione dell'ambient music. Affidato alle cure del pianista e compositore Bruno Sanfilippo, prosegue da anni la sua incessante attività di produzione e diffusione della propria idea di musica atmosferica. Un'idea passatista, forse, per certi versi inattuale, lontana dalla deriva razionalista che il genere ha intrapreso negli ultimi anni di contaminazione con la sperimentazione elettronica. Nonostante questo, le soddisfazioni per i due non sono mancate, in particolare per Sanfilippo, che può dirsi oggi un precursore a tutti gli effetti della generazione modern classical che tanto successo ha riscosso negli ultimi anni (anche in ambienti ben lontani da quello degli aficionados). Questo “Inside Life”, suo ultimo lavoro, avrebbe potuto tranquillamente trovare un posto sul catalogo Denovali facendo la sua ottima figura in mezzo alle talentuose punte di diamante dell'etichetta tedesca.Rispetto a quell'idea modern classical, il portoghese mantiene un legame palese con la tradizione ambientale in senso stretto (cfr. Harold Budd), preferendo curare la forma delle sue composizioni in funzione dell'atmosfera e dell'evocazione più che della sostanza sonora o della melodia. Se episodi come la magniloquente ouverture di “Sudden Quietness”, la sospesa “The Place Where Dying Crows” e la gelida “Freezing Point" pongono l'accento sull'inquietudine, altrove sono la serenità o l'estasi a trovarsi efficacemente riprodotte.Sanfilippo genera con un linguaggio semplice (piano-archi-samples) e piuttosto invariabile un assortimento di atmosfere variegato, in grado di riprodurre una tensione emotiva che si spinge per davvero “dentro la vita”. Così in “Camille” flussi quieti e pianoforte memori sono colorati dai cori sintetici che riecheggiano in lontananza, mentre “Tea Leaves At The Bottom Of A Cup” medita al pianoforte sulla semplice quotidianità. Il finale di “Inside Life”, affidato agli archi come già l'epica “A Door Opens For Ever”, mira invece all'organicismo orchestrale per cogliere l'essenza più squisita e vitale del soundscape. Tradizionale ma ancora ben più che attuale.
    Onda Rock
  • "Inside Life" is the newest album by Bruno Sanfilippo, an Argentinian composer with domicile in Barcelona, Spain. Released in elegant digisleeve in the middle of February 2015 through his usual co-owned ad21 label. Being familiar already with the aural part, I must say the packaging precisely levels the quality thanks to the visual artistry of Buenos Aires based Andy Ruggia. As far I remember, this is the first digisleeve packaging at ad21, like it so much, good choice, amigos!!! The opening composition "Sudden Quietness" unfolds this listening bliss with minimal, but deeply expressive piano, meticulously merged with sparse stringed sadness of guest appearance by cellist Julián Kancepolski. Intangibly spiraling subtleties are continuously guarding above, while gorgeously encircling placidness permeates through these profoundly evocative piano blankets. A true masterpiece!!! Pensive piano magic wrapped by hissy nostalgic moments leads "Freezing Point", touchingly embracing and serenely nuanced. And later gorgeously amalgamated with inconspicuously awaken weeping cello. Certainly another exquisitely poignant composition showcasing the virtuosity of both soundpainters and their sophisticated interaction. On "Camille", dedicated to French composer, pianist and organist Camille Saint-Saëns, euphoniously tinkling crystalline piano is backed by amorphously floating operatic female voice of Mariel Aguilar, all masterly surrounded by elusive monochromatic drone cushion. Bravo!!! A joyful piano evocations announce the next piece, "A Door Opens Forever", which smoothly transform into warmly inviting and tranquilly meandering passages, where elated piano shares artistic brilliance with intensely emotional cello and occasionally emanating clickety-clacks. Wow, the first three tracks were already really outstanding, but this composition is absolutely splendorous, a true piece of art, deliberately merging exceptional piano performance of Bruno Sanfilippo with Julián Kancepolski's cello grandness, all raised into an ultimate sonic equilibrium!!! Certainly one of my all time favorite piano-based efforts by Bruno Sanfilippo, magnífico, Maestro!!! And kudos also to Julián Kancepolski!!! A brief cacophony opens "The Place Where Dying Crows", but placid, more meditative terrains are quickly entered with rather scanty, but deeply embracing piano undulations, quietly minimal, although contrasted with perplexingly scattered string experiments. "Tea Leaves At The Bottom Of A Cup" invites us into gorgeously poetic sceneries with intimately narrative piano playing. A real beauty filled with profoundly enveloping soothingness!!! The title composition "Inside Life", with 7-plus minutes the longest piece, closes this highly enthralling aural experience with deeply suggestive squeaking bowed string finesse intricately coalesced with majestically flatlined drone layer, ethereal piano tracery and magnified by nebulous wordless transcendence of the sole protagonist. A tremendously engrossing finale!!!
    Richard Gürtler
  • Like Bruno Sanfilippo's work in general, Inside Life straddles multiple genres. With minimalist piano playing the nucleus, the album's seven settings are heavily informed by his classical training, but they also evidence a deep connection to electro-acoustic, electronica, and ambient genres. At no time do they appear separately, however; instead, Sanfilippo deftly fuses them in such a way that elements of each are omnipresent within a given production and a delicate balance emerges between them. Sanfilippo's is a subtle and oft-tranquil world earmarked by the subtlest of painterly brush strokes, and the latest collection, which he recorded in Barcelona during 2013 and 2014, reaffirms his status as a modern-day impressionist. Though the forty-five-minute recording (issued in a 500-copy run) is largely a solo affair (Sanfilippo's credited with piano, electronics, voice, and, on the title piece, violin), the material is enhanced dramatically by the contributions of cellist Julián Kancepolski and, on the Saint-Saëns tribute “Camille,” singer Mariel Aguilar. Kancepolski proves to be an invaluable part of the album equation, given how indelibly his playing leaves its mark on the material; his expressive, swooping lines are as central to the evocative impact of “Sudden Quietness” and “Freezing Point” as the composer's nuanced piano and electronic textures. The more luscious side of Sanfilippo's soundworld is highlighted within “A Door Opens Forever,” where his and Kancepolski's playing assumes a particularly forceful emotional weight. That said, the most exquisite setting on Inside Life would have to be “Tea Leaves at the Bottom of a Cup,” which reaches an almost sublime level of beauty during its serenading seven minutes. There are times when Sanfilippo's playing calls Harold Budd's to mind, in those moments especially when the piano glimmers softly as if wrapped in a reverberant haze (such as during the ambient-drone meditation “The Place Where Dying Crows”). But though that might be the case, Sanfilippo's music nevertheless stakes out its own distinctive place within the musical firmament.
    Textura.org
  • "Inside Life" by Bruno Sanfilippo is abstract neo-classicism at it's very best: adventurous and inspiring, courageous and ’out there’ ... yet wonderfully introspective and bare, minimal and refined; I found it a joy to consume. There is much to be said for this kind of abstract expression: the piano, strings and percussive found-sounds all playing their part to set "Inside Life" afloat and, in doing so, creating an abstract dreamlike state that I found mesmerising. It is a remarkable album that could easily be the soundtrack to a slightly off-kilter character-driven movie with all it's intricacies and repeated themes. In places I was reminded me of Mica Levi's seminal soundtrack for "Under The Skin" and that is no bad thing. Julián Kancepolski's expressive cello, under Sanfilippo's direction, both complements and juxtaposes the piano and electronics presented. Sanfilippo paints with sound and utilises all the elements at his disposal to create. And create he has, moulding wonderfully expressive soundscapes such as "Camille", a tribute to Camille Saint-Saëns that features the voice of Mariel Aguilar, whose voice provides a haunting nature and makes the track an utter delight ... the sparse opener "Sudden Quietness", a track that really sets the tone for the whole album with it's periods of silence that complement the melancholic strings ... or "A Door Opens Forever", a track the piano masters of yesteryear would have been proud of. Sanfilippo is a talented individual, he even lends his voice to the final (and title) track, the eerie "Inside Life". I would highly recommend "Inside Life" to anyone with a passing fancy for abstract neo-classical expressionism. Bruno Sanfilippo has done himself proud.
    Headphonaught
  • Even after twenty years, Bruno Sanfilippo‘s sound continues to develop. In last year’s review of ClarOscuro, we noted that we liked the artist’s new direction: subtler electronics and supporting strings. The piano remains the central instrument, but a light dusting of sugar is better than a drenching of glaze. As befits its title, Inside Life turns more introspective, its notes carefully arranged like rocks in a Zen garden, with incredible thought given to their placement. This move creates space for Julián Kancepolski’s cello, yet even the cellist respects the spaces enough not to fill them. The resulting stillness – or perhaps soft motion – evokes the season in which it was released, one of frozen lakes and barren trees. The two opening tracks especially fit this mold, and given their titles (“Sudden Quietness” and “Freezing Point”), it’s clear that the association is intentional. Winter is the introspective season, lending itself not only to the literal inside life (more time spent indoors) but to the intellectual and spiritual (time spent in thought and prayer). To the healthy, this can be a time of deep introspection and meditation; to those who feel that the sun has been stolen, it can be a time of anxiety and depression. “Old tapes” play repeatedly and threaten to undo one’s security. The deep counter-notes of “Freezing Point” offer the first inkling that something may be amiss; the icicle tones of “The Place Where Dying Crows” occupy the higher end of the scale, but provide the same impression. On “Camille”, the plaintive voice of Mariel Aguilar pays tribute to Camille Saint-Saëns, and may be interpreted as either holy or haunted due to its yearning tone. It’s a kind gesture, considering the fact that Saint-Saëns once dedicated a symphony to Liszt. But what is the composer’s intention? The cover provides a hint: metaphorically, the image seems to symbolize direction from disorder. In like fashion, the mind may be a jumble of thoughts, an album a jumble of sounds; Sanfilippo finds the end of the piano wire and pulls it. This way, he seems to be saying. I can see the way out. On the title track, Sanfilippo himself sings wordlessly; the light will be returning soon.
    A Closer Listen