Bruno Sanfilippo blows all his previous releases out of the water with InTRO, a work of impressive imagination and virtuoso artistry on an assortment of electronic and acoustic instruments. One of the more original works in recent years, InTRO demands the listener’s attention in order to reap the rewards of an emotionally satisfying listening experience as the artist explores a wide landscape of musical motifs.
Frankly, this CD left me spent the first time I listened to it all the way through (which, by the way, I highly recommend you do).
“InTROworld” starts off with a bass-heavy sensual tribal beat, layers of electronic tones, and an assortment of ethnic instruments, such as what sounds like an erhu (an Asian string instrument) and what might be a duduk (a warm-sounding reed instrument popularized by the
artist Djivan Gasparyan). The music throbs with primal energy and raw naked sensuality. At about the midway point of the nine-minute
cut, it all starts to quiet down and morphs into a subdued subterranean/tribal hybrid with the drum beats eventually fading into the distance, replaced by the sound of falling rain.
“InTROmental” opens with decidedly Asian influences as bells and gongs are struck echoing and reverberating with a warm melodicism. Synthesizers playing a circular texture emerge from the background along with the familiar buzzing of a didgeridoo, but subdued enough
so that non-fans of the Australian instrument can still enjoy this. A two-note refrain with a back-forth cadence to it anchors the track
while ebbing and flowing synths and swirling keyboards fill the air with a heady dose of mysticism.
“InTROsacro” moves the album into a more conventional ambient soundscape of layers of electronic tonalities and reverberating effects. The mood straddles the boundary between neutral and brooding, but never crosses over into foreboding. At ten minutes, it is the longest track on the CD (although only one selection here is under six and half minutes long).
Assorted bell tones, slightly abstract noises, some sampled ethnic chanting (faint and brief), twinkling synths and what sounds like chorals
are added in later in the piece.
“InTROpiano” is a sparse, minimal, evocative and touching piano piece, with the instrument deeply echoed.
Background electronic textures, not unlike the sound of gently rushing wind, and the sound of crickets flesh out the song.
“InTROvoices” has a dreamlike quality with soft synth strings, delicate bird song, and an angelic choir wordlessly singing a gentle and serene lullaby (with one brief moment of power and crescendo).
“InTROvisions” features a warm flowing melody played on synthesizers, decidedly electronic but also with a warm organic quality.
“InTROpassion” concludes the CD with a blending of piano with the duduk-like sound and an assortment of background electronic effects and tones. As the song progresses, female chorals are added to dramatic effect, as well as shimmering bell tones.
InTRO’s original music and mixture of styles defies easy categorization. I hope the words above give you at least a glimmer of Sanfilippo’s brilliant accomplishment. I also hope that open-minded ambient and new age music fans alike will give this album the recognition it deserves
and not be dissuaded by its variety of moods or musical motifs. If you dedicate an hour of your time to immersing yourself in this CD,
I think you will be as enthralled with it as I was. Highly recommended.