“If you have never heard of Bruno Sanfilippo, then this review offers you that chance, as this Argentinean composer – he lives in Barcelona since a very long time – has released a new album (his 19th already!). It is called Inside Life, and it takes you to the area between classical and minimalist music. With no more than piano, cello, electronics and voice, Sanfillipo builds wonderful compositions, in which silence is as important as the summary of the sounds that he conjures. Think of Brian Eno and Wim Mertens, but the music of Bruno Sanfilippo is even more minimalist, boned like the Cello Suites by J.S. Bach, but balder and much less decorated but in terms of ambience and atmosphere, Sanfilippo plays piano and electronics, Julián Kancepolski plays cello, the vocals are taken care of by Mariel Aguilar.
The album starts with Sudden Quietness, in which the cello takes the lead, closely followed by the piano, with soft electronics in the background. The pace is slow, the atmosphere is solemn and cinematic, with a nice contrast between the groaning strings and the sharp-sounding piano. In Freezing Point the piano paints a gentle scene and the cello creates warm sounds, sometimes in the foreground, but just as often in the background like a shooting star. Camille is constructed with buzzing electronics and quiet, sometimes angular piano sounds, with the operatic voice of Mariel Aguilar as a shadowy echo in the distance. In A Door Opens Forever, piano and cello pull out all the stops, supported by subtle electronics. It is like a little symphony on the fairytale landscape that unfolds after opening a window: shades of green and yellow, but brown and amber too, with a layered pattern that suggests space and airiness, and then a dark cello, as a cloud obscuring the sun.
The Place Where Dying Crows starts with piercing sounds in a ruined engine house, piano and electronics suggest warmth and security, but in the background you can hear the shrill sounds in the primitive workshop: hammers, anvils, falling metal. And there is room for silence, which is accentuated by the dark piano sounds that immediately follow. The cello trembles in the background and sounds like grinding metal. Tea Leaves at the Bottom of a Cup chooses a quieter path. Time for contemplation and intimacy, even melancholy. The atmospheric Inside Life closes the album with layers of electro and a singing cello. There is hustle and bustle, a sharp contrast to the intimate and private world of Bruno Sanfilippo.
Inside Life by Bruno Sanfilippo combines neoclassical patterns with minimalism and ambient tones. It is quiet and yet very expressive music, as a cautious assembly of intense and subtle feelings, of light and dark, of abundance and scarcity, in which the listener is taken to strange, abstract and hallucinatory surroundings. Lovers of contemporary classical music should definitely give this album a chance”