The latest full length studio album from Bruno Sanfilippo is entitled Inside Life, an apt one given its stark and deeply introspective nature. For it, Sanfilippo recruited cellist Julián Kancepolski and the two work together in a stark, minimalist approach to create a pensive, sometimes bleak, exploration of introspective themes.
There is a haunted stillness to each of these pieces. It is an uneasy melancholy rather than a gentle one, distracted by agitated thoughts and concerns. A gossamer sheen of electronics is spread like a veil over Sanfilippo’s austere, but impeccable piano and Kancepolski’s vibrant cello gives voice to the internal disquiet, nearly howling with torment at times. This is most in evidence in tracks such as ‘Sudden Quietness’ and ‘Freezing Point’.
In addition, Sanfilippo incorporates vocals in fascinating ways as Mariel Aguilar lends her operatic voice ‘Camille’, a tribute to Saint-Saëns, and the title track in which we here the composer’s own voice floating in billowing waves of ambient drone along with Kancepolski’s cello lines. Of course, there are certainly moments of profound and serene beauty, most notably ‘A Door Opens Forever’ and ‘Tea Leaves at the Bottom of a Cup’.
Inside Life is cerebral and exquisite, yet unflinching in its examination of an unquiet mind, an album that will alternately challenge and delight the thoughtful listener.