STYLE: A suite of eight haunting piano ambiences laden with lush sustain. Piano Textures is built around the rich, uncluttered sound of a solo Steinway lady grand piano supported by a variety of strings, synths and the unique strains of the duduk. Minimal melody lines unfold in unhurried patterns – delicate, resonant – sometimes brief phrases repeating with variation of intensity, structure, emphasis or perhaps with the supporting sounds subtly altered. Sometimes the sonic air is thick with reverberation, the piano accompanied by its own ripples, low notes almost rumbling, eerie effects keening in the distance. The processed notes seem to become increasingly tuneful as the album progresses – yet never overly so – always restrained. Sleeve notes explain that the compositions are arranged in chronological order.
MOOD: Bruno Sanfilippo plays with an elegant simplicity that is a true delight to hear – restful arrangements that soothe, enchant and absorb the listener. Many of the tracks have a melancholy feel that is all the more doleful in such sparcity of expression. This introspective sadness becomes almost tangible at times, in some of the more melodic parts there is a beautiful aching sensation. There is also a brooding, ethereal quality often present – the atmosphere both powerfully intense and delicate at the same time.
ARTWORK: The front cover image initially hits the eye as a glowing abstraction in orange/red – on closer inspection swirls of hair, fabric and ambiguous colour present a variety of visual textures. On the rear, another red texture image is montaged with a faint window photograph – here is a simple track list with associated timings. Inside the sleeve opens to reveal a muted portrait of the artist positioned at ninety degrees to the text that could almost be missed on first glance. Here we find some explanatory notes, a dedication, credits and contact details.
OVERALL: Piano Textures is the latest in a growing list of powerful instrumental releases from Bruno Sanfilippo This album presents the sounds of the piano “sampled by post musical instruments, with 10 recorded velocity layers with 10 separate sustain pedal down layers and release triggered samples”. The results are truly amazing – lush, evocative compositions that fill the minds eye with associative imagery. The recordings were made at night and the tracks reflect this nocturnal influence throughout.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM: Piano Textures will appeal to anyone that enjoys atmospheric ambience with just enough melody to touch the heart. If you enjoy processed piano minimalism don’t miss this one.