This CD from 2009 features 51 minutes of gentle ambient music.
As implied by the release’s title, the principle instrument here is a grand piano (a model 1923 Steinway D, to be exact).
The latter has been sampled, and the notes are accompanied by electronically generated atmospheres.
The result, as one might expect, is ambience seasoned by classical influences.
Sanfilippo plays gentle Steinway chords that linger with a congenial sovereignty. The melodies pursue an extremely relaxed temperament with each expression isolated by reverent pauses (which are suitably filled with languidly drifting texturals).
The electronics are primarily tenuous, establishing vaporous environs not unlike the mists that cloak a beach in the dawn hours.
These tonalities engulf the music in translucence, a luster delicately penetrated by the piano notes.
Some of the atmospherics exhibit a suppressed grittiness reminiscent of distant electrical currents crackling in an open field.
For the most part, though, the ambience remains moderate and courteous.
The compositions are ethereal yet compelling. While most ambient music relies entirely on the ebb and flow of harmonic auralscapes, these songs employ a melodic structure generated by the piano keys. Those melodies are then enhanced into pleasant phantasms by the conjunctive application of soft tones. The fragile compositions evoke moods the exact nature of which are wholly derived from the mind of the listener.
It should come as no surprise to any of my readers that I'm a big fan and supporter of Bruno Sanfilippo and his music. His "Auralspace" release has been in permanent rotation in my CD player for almost a year now, and I regularly return to his other works when I'm looking for something to listen to. You can understand that I was very pleased to hear about his latest release "Piano Textures 2", a follow up to 2007's "Piano Textures", which was a stunning album of inspired environments using only a processed and effected grand piano as a sound source.
Now that I've had a chance to listen to it carefully, I'm pleased to report that "Piano Textures 2" continues the idea with similar beautiful results.
"Piano Textures2 i" opens the disc with a theme from the earlier "Piano Textures" release, which leads into a new meditative piece of great beauty. Employing sparse and simple melodic work over a slowly drifting pad Sanfilippo creates a relaxed environment for the listener to discover at their own pace. Rich in texture and layers, "Piano Textures2 i" sets the tone for the disc as a whole, establishing a mood and a feeling
that will continue throughout.
"Piano Textures2 ii" is up next, a bit more melancholy in tone but certainly just as engaging as the album opener.
A quiet drone drifts through the background underneath a forlorn melodic line. There's a really clear emotion at play here, a very organic
and real feeling that breathes through the track, made all the more impressive by the minimal number of notes being used.
A truly impressive piece of music.
"Piano Textures2 iii" follows, a slowly drifting track where forms and shapes are vague and amorphous at best, but still just as warm and beautiful as we've come to expect from Sanfilippo. Tones ebb and flow through the soundscape, gradually becoming clearer and more defined as the track progresses. It's all very languid and beautiful, bringing to mind images of floating on a still lake on that perfect summer's day.
I've always enjoyed how Sanfilippo's music can transport me to another space like that.
"Piano Textures2 iv" begins with a deep drone that slowly rises out of the soundfield, rich tones building in strength alongside it.
As time passes, the melodies become more complex, more pronounced, weaving throughout the music but never overtaking the initial drone,
just complementing and adding to it. A lovely piece of work.
The sound of twinkling stars begins "Piano Textures2 v", leading into a beautiful example of minimalist space music.
There's a rich, organic feeling at play here, something very natural and clean developed from simple sources rather than the processed synth work that largely defines the genre. I can't help but think of slow orbits around alien worlds, a solitary beauty.
"Piano Textures2 vi" brings us back to earth, a lush piano piece with minimal processing, just some really wonderful playing that makes me incredibly jealous of Sanfilippo's talents. I really can't do justice to this track, but trust me when I say that it's the most beautiful piece on an album of very beautiful work.
Sanfilippo's talent and mastery of the genre are on clear display with this release and I have no doubt that I will have to find room in my CD player for another one of his releases that I'll be playing all year long. "Piano Textures 2" is a stunning collection of music that I whole heartedly recommend to existing fans of Sanfilippo's work and to those who are looking for carefully crafted organic ambience. Another great release from one of my favorite artists!
To be honest, I cannot recall when I last heard a CD as simply graceful and beautiful as Bruno Sanfilippo’s latest offering, Piano Textures2.
Slow-handed piano melodies lazily describe themselves over calm, warm synth washes in the six pieces here, each one slowing life down just a bit and trailing color as they go. Relatively common in character, these pieces absolutely melt together, the moment between tracks coming like a reflective pause before you begin to drift away on the next one. This is a superb disc for low-volume looping, ideal for winding down the day, meditating or just deep listening. Nothing jars the flow as Sanfilippo gently pours feeling across his keyboards and guides us along. A stunning, gorgeous piece of work that’s also a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD."
STYLE Delicate piano atmospheres with subtle electronic support. Bruno Sanfilippo presents here a series of very beautiful compositions that feature an 'old lady grand piano' recorded during the night hours. Smooth electronic washes and drones are laid down in gentle layers forming light, hazy expanses within which the master instrument luxuriates. The piano playing is mostly of an understated, unhurried melodic form calling to mind the purity and tranquil grace of Satie, touched with delightful melancholy and haunting airy wistfulness. Spacial structure is masterful, creating an incredibly enchanting ambience, the arrangements seemingly having the meandering freeness of improvised playing whilst at the same time obviously exhibiting the kind of harmony and refinement that comes only from painstaking crafting and control.
ARTWORK Piano textures comes in a jewel case with three panel folded insert. Imagery focuses on physical textures in harmony with the sonic textures of the disc. The main image is of monochrome leaf fibres, sepia strands running at a slight incline - an image that is repeated behind the CD itself within. Since the case has a clear spine the slim vertical left edge is used to display a piano keyboard running from top to bottom. The back cover takes a faded version of the main image and turns it sideways, here forming a backdrop to a diagram of the inner workings of a grand piano. Track titles discreetly follow the upper contour of the instrument. When the insert is fully extended, one side holds the front cover, a second textural study (this time of fabric fibres) and a section for information: instrumental details, recording facts, website info and a quote from Shakespeare. The second side of the insert is completely given over to a strongly textured landscape photograph - stony hills, flat sky.
OVERALL Piano Textures 2 comes as follow-up to the wonderful Piano Textures album released back in 2007. ç Buenos Aires born Sanfilippo has been playing the piano since childhood and his love of the instrument is fully evident in the six powerfully emotive pieces here.
The album is once more delivered through the artist's own ad21music label. From my perspective this latest collection of music is even more powerful than the previous. Having found a form of expression that clearly released some personal passion, Sanfilippo has refined his technique since the first instalment - more confident, more melodic, more captivating. This is exquisite music - I find it hard to imagine that anything more breathtaking could be coaxed from this instrument.
In 2007, Mr Sanfilippo presented us the first volume of Piano Textures, now followed by a second chapter of gentle, overall elegant, contemplative but not too soothing piano-atmospheres. These formulae already proved to be worthy on the initial release, but on
Piano Textures 2, Bruno reaches for and arrived on a new level of brilliance.
Recorded and mixed at Onix Studio, Barcelona, Sanfilippo once more played an Steinway Old Lady Grand Piano from 1923. and expertly mixed its notes with the flowing, atmospheric synthesizer pads (created with a Korg Radias and a Boss giga delay), to “inspire the canvas of imagination”. Carefully retaining the warmth and intimacy hidden inside, the outcome of six tracks offers even more sensitivity and captivating melodies than the previous recording, while creating and still preserving an overall tranquil ambience.
Listeners looking for beauty and melody in contemporary instrumental music should look no further. Well-done Bruno!
Nuevo trabajo de Bruno Sanfilippo, un disco que continúa la senda iniciada con sus incursiones al piano, estas se han visto reflejadas en conciertos y en un excelente trabajo, ahora vuelve con la segunda parte de este último, con "Piano Textures 2".
"Piano Textures 2", después de leer el título y conocer su anterior trabajo, sobran las palabras, porque aquí nos vamos a encontrar al Bruno minimalista que nos sumerge a través de las teclas del piano en las profundidades de nuestro ser, con esas atmósferas que solo él sabre crear, esa manera minismalista de introducirnos en la música, en descubrirnos el poder de ese instrumento llamado piano.
"Piano Textures 2" son seis piezas, más de cincuenta minutos de puro deleite musical, de puro minimalismo contemporáneo, de música instrumental para deleite de todos aquellos que tengan la oportunidad de escuchar este trabajo y de todos que tengan el placer de poder disfrutar de uno de sus conciertos en directo.
Bruno Sanfilippo es un magnífico compositor que siempre es capaz de trasladar a sus obras todo su sentimiento,
toda su sabiduría, toda la belleza de lo que nos rodea, en esta ocasión, vuelve a poner su manos sobre las teclas de un piano,
para con sus delicadas texturas volver a deleitarnos de esa magia que es la música.
Lost Frontier Radio
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