STYLE: Piano and strings. Bruno Sanfilippo releases his latest solo album in the form of ClarOscuro. This time he is joined by Manuel Del Fresno on Violoncello and Pere Bardagí on Violin. An impressively elegant and blissfully tranquil set of tracks, ClarOscuro’s gentle, classical approach calls to mind the delicate, minimal piano work of Satie or Max Richter whilst benefitting from Bruno’s evident expertise in the contemporary field of modern ambient. There are piano-only pieces; compositions for the two stringed instruments and a number that feature a combination of these. Minimal, yet sparsely melodic, ClarOscuro luxuriates in the subtleties of the sounds employed: notes are often left hanging in the air, their delicate decay fully appreciated, fine textural layers form around the lead instruments like atmospheric distance and soft pedal or fingering details add to the impelling sense of presence many of the recording establish.
ARTWORK: ClarOscuro is presented in a simple two-panel digipack of pale grey hue. Traceries of trees form an attractive backdrop for most of the surfaces – the front cover placing a peculiar transparent piano in the centre. Little other than track titles disturb the smooth surface of the rear cover – a website address is tucked away in small font at the foot. Inside also is uncluttered: a title, credits and the disc itself.
OVERALL: ClarOscuro sees Spanish ambient piano master Bruno Sanfilippo following up his series of Piano Textures albums with something a little more traditionally structured. The nine delightful recordings here have a strong classical sensibility, understated melodies and haunting demeanour. These pieces will repay careful listening or deep immersion, bringing a serenity to your day, yet they could equally be allowed to colour the background of your life, surely beautifying your surroundings with their evident feeling and grace.