As a classically trained musician and composer, we can naturally expect that Buenos Aires-born Bruno Sanfilippo is no slouch when it comes to releasing instrumental albums of original material. As the title ‘Piano Textures 3’ makes clear, this is the third in a series of albums by the artist, with the whole trilogy now available in a handy boxed set.
From the opening keys of ‘Piano Textures 3 I’, there’s a sense that this is going to be a melodically and texturally rich yet rather depressing affair. Indeed, the mood on the first two pieces speaks of a soundtrack to tragic 1970’s films such as ‘The Go Between’ or ‘Don’t Look Now’, perhaps; beautiful yet unavoidably downbeat. Then ‘III’ signals quite a dramatic turn; the keys unfolding like petals of a new flower, such is the feeling of optimism that is generated.
Sanfilippo employs the minimum of surroundings to the key instrument but does this effectively whether it’s the odd clanging of bells, distant voices or bird song. Yet in a rare moment of relative extravagance, ‘V’ is accompanied by strings and samples of waves. It’s hardly Sigur Ros territory but you could certainly visualise it underscoring nature documentaries. Elsewhere there’s a lovely yet flowing contrast between the stark ‘VI’ and the fragrant shimmer of ‘VII’ but these serve as mere interludes for the stately, stirring finale. It’s the only track which stretches to the ten minute mark but not a moment is wasted.
Sanfiliippo’s expertise with the piano cannot be disputed. Yet of more significance is that this is instrumental music with a very tangible emotional power. The fact that they are original compositions makes these endeavours all the more impressive since they sound like set texts from a bygone age, with only the ambient touches to distinguish them from a vintage era.
Harold Budd, Malcolm Fisher, Erik Satie