On “Urbs”, Bruno Sanfilippo’s debut release on the Hypnos label, Bruno works with some previously unexplored styles, moving away from the gentle piano sounds of earlier recordings and replacing them with a more abstract form which I’m happy to discover is just as accomplished and just as appealing as his earlier work.
“Urban Flow” is a night time journey through the city, found sounds and drifting pads creating a vibrant and moody film noir environment. As the track progresses, the sound takes a turn for the fantastic with pads stretching and expanding around the soundfield, a wash of sound over the city giving it a golden sheen, illuminating magic that may have gone otherwise unnoticed.
“The City Reflected” continues through the city on a rain drenched evening. Cars drive through the mist and puddles while tones arc and bend, high trebly tones piercing like lights through the night time fog. A selection of drones lie underneath, an interesting counterpoint to the beauty of lights. As the piece progresses it very nicely captures that late nighttime feeling that starts around 4am, where things start to get wierd, and where lack of sleep distorts reality enough to make it more surreal.
“Chaotic Order” revels in the sounds of crowds in the city, a slow drift through the streets of crowded areas, voices and footsteps, the sounds that people make in a teaming metropolis. Pads drift slowly overtop, interlacing with eachother, forming a delicate latticework of sound that glides across the track in a most appealing way. As time progresses, a second movement finds the pads joined by other sounds creating a very interesting and emotive piece, a fascinating trip through cinematic sound environments. A third movement begins with a gristly tone and a deep windy drone, an intermittently haunting segment that brings the ghosts of the city to life. A very impressive suite.
The disc closes with “The Gray Umbrella”, a thematic book end to the opening track, presenting a similar feeling of a nocturnal walk through the city streets. Quietly ringing notes play alongside the sounds of the city, complementing and weaving through the natural flow of an urban setting. It’s a quiet piece to end the album, a sleepy resolution that suggests that the journey has come to a conclusion and it’s time to go to bed. And really, that’s the best way to end the album, a feeling of completion, satisfaction, and the sense of security that comes with returning full circle to one’s own home. Our trip through the city of “Urbs” is done.
Those of you who regularly read the ping things blog will no doubt recognize that I’m running out of ways to say how much I enjoy Bruno’s work, running out of ways to say what a talented artist he is. The fact is, I am regularly astonished by his impressive musical talents, and hearing a release like “Urbs” I am further impressed by his versatility, and the way he can easily work within new styles and forms. “Urbs” is a very interesting new direction for Bruno, and as always I look forward to seeing where that direction will lead him.