In the last decade Modern Classical has soared in popularity for both releases and artists coming through the genre. Credit can go to the likes of Frahm, Arnalds, Richter, Johannsson and labels like Erased Tapes and 130701 in helping popularize the music. You can add Argentinian Bruno Sanfilippo to the list. His earliest release dates back to 1991 and although described as New Age his Modern Classical stylings came through circa 2000 “Suite Patagonia” album. It’s fitting that this release covers his two most recent release, one “Lost & Found” is an archival compilation and the other, “Doll” is a single coming out on January 1, 2018.
According to the label Ad21 music “the artist takes four songs that were once buries and lost in other collections, curating them together to create a new sound and feel. This re-imagination allows the listener to discover each piece as if for the first place. The songs have the power to pull memories from us, of real or imagined experience and the ethereal sounds, are at once familiar and an exploration.“
“Lost & Found” features collected music released between 2006 and 2015 with a recently discovered track on the studio hard drive.
“Peter” first appeared on Ambientblog “Tenth Anniversary” usb collection from 2015 and is presumably named after the blogger in question, Peter Van Cooten. It starts of with electronics fused with piano and drones that appear joined to the piano in that they radiate out over the light electrical hum in the background. Initially appearing as a drone track or changes to focus more on the piano accompanied with field recordings of children playing. There is a slight improv feel to the piano, but after a brief fade out the piano playing becomes mote strident and controlled and introspective nature as if the piano is alluding to the field recordings of a longing for the innocence of youth.
“InTROpiano” originally the fourth track from 2006’s “InTRO” album follows the theme of additional elements to the piano with darkened drones (with a very, very slight Industrial feel), electrical buzz, field recordings of water sprinklers and crickets and deep rich spaced out Piano which if front and center in the track. The use of the non Piano elements allows the Piano to breathe and makes the track less stark than if it were Piano only. As the music starts building and evolving in the background, the piano maintains it’s pace, tone and texture and comes across with a feeling of experimentation mixed with a sense of reflection and reservation.
“Piano Texture Found” originally from Laverna net label release of the same name in 2012 starts with muted piano keys and static like glitches that force their way into the sound scape, seeping in and enveloping. The Piano has a very distant, submerged feel to it as if from a dream such is the cloudy, hazy feel to it. It alternates from more forceful playing to shimmering qualities as it keeps a steady ebbing and flowing feel. In the final two minutes of the track the piano escapes from the shadow as the static glitches have started to fade and removes the shackles of haze to reveal a clear piano section. I am not sure of Sanfilippo’s thought about this track, but to me it is coming from the past (with the muted sound) into the present (as if everything has revealed itself).
“Soltario” also from “Piano Texture Found” is the albums epic with field recordings of someone walking in what I imagine to be in an underpass with water, gravel under foot sounds, pops,clicks and an electrically treated piano sound. There is a dark edge to the track, like it has an underbelly. There is a feeling of unease which is brought about by the additional sounds as well as the minimalist treated piano. An excerpt of this track would suit a science fiction film.
“What I Dreamed” recent studio hard drive find and exclusive to the CD and bandcamp release which is reason enough to buy the album. A beautiful pairing of layered minimalist piano, waves of ambience and string drones that circle around your ears, there is a certain degree of relaxed joy as the piece slowly unfurls in a loop like fashion with elements entering and departing gently, weaving their textures. It’s slightly different to the preceding tracks in its omission of field recordings or glitches, but has the similar tone as shared by the other tracks. If this is a case of lost material, we can only hope of more found material.
“Lost & Found” sees a collection of material from a wide span of time be collected to form a cohesive album. Some work better than others, my personal preference would be “Soltario” to be shorter, but the album is an enjoyable listen for people looking for more than just a solo piano album.
“Doll” is Sanfilippo’s first release for 2018 coming out on the first of January on all digital platforms. Mastered by Home Normal boss Ian Hawgood (who also mastered “Lost & Found”) the track is a meditative rolling piece that has a beautiful tone alongside its controlled playing that, while conveying an intention it is never forceful nor laid back. There is an organic feel to it with the slight sound of the parts of the piano (possibly hammers or dampers – being a non musician I can only guess). There is a certain degree of romance to the music, but also a feeling of hope. At no times is it melancholic, but just a pleasure to listen to. The feeling is of a musician in control of their art and this ease that he has comes across in the enjoyment for the listener.
If this, Sanfilippo’s first entry into 2018 is a representation of what is to follow, then it should be a great year of music ahead of us.