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.