Stefano Guzzetti – Short Stories. Piano Book, Volume 2.

“Short Stories. Piano Book Volume 2” is the follow-up to the successful first volume of early 2014, also released by Home Normal. “At Home – Piano Book Volume 1” brought Guzzetti more notice which led to him establishing his own imprint with Stella Recordings, music publishing with Mute Song and vinyl releases through Brooklyn Bridge Records. “Volume 2”, already sold out from the label, takes Guzzetti further into the conversation around important pianists.

“Apertura” which is a reworking of a track that originally featured on the tour release “春を待っています (Waiting for Spring)” from 2016, opens the album with a similar close recording sound to his previous album “Alone (Night Music For Piano Solo)” and is a melodic piece that has a constant rhythm that feels more accustomed to non piano music. The track feels sing songy in the way it flows, it’s not linear, but a bit choppy. There is a great tone to the piano that is full of warmth and you just get the feeling of a light summer afternoon with rays of light filtering in.

“Hands” feels like a narrative driven piece. The playing is very deliberate with flowing keys and constant rhythms. It feels like a love song in the way it moves and the delicateness is mixed in with the consistency of playing. There is nothing muted or harsh, just really pleasant playing.

“Tecla (II)” like “Apertura” is a reworking of a track that originally featured on “春を待っています (Waiting for Spring)” from 2016. This track has a starker feel to it with a mixture of deep and sharp keys and a racing playing feel. You get the vision of Guzzetti playing with one hand minimally striking the keys while the other quickly flows across the keys. Sounds reverberate around adding to the sound scape creating an element of suspense to the piece. The way the track is constructed allows for the mood to build with the minimal elements being the center of attention.

“Welcome” a track firmly rooted in the modern classical genre that you could imagine being augmented nicely with a string section. Very cinematic in its approach and make up. The track goes through several sections with most having a slight almost melancholic / despair feeling that hangs at the edges. Changes in the speed of playing and the tone of the piano, give the listener a feeling like you are part of a conversation with the music and the way it is interacting with itself from section to section.

“Paper Ship” a repetitive flowing section is joined by a complimenting section of different tone that maintains the tempo and flow as the initial piece. The feel of the piece is one of affection. The piano playing borders on romantic, but it doesn’t feel like a romantic piece, but one more concerned about a deeper connection. The music unwinds nicely with both sections having a rich tone that is very pleasant to listen to.

“Namida” stark reverberating glacial minimalism welcomes you to a track where there is a feeling of control. The music utilizes space and timing without being in any form cluttered. Backwards snatches of drones bring this firmly into the ambient sphere which matches the feel of the piano tones. It is a perfect fusion of piano and drones where they match so well and the drones build on what the piano started at the beginning of the track.

“Be My Shelter” a fast flowing piece with naturalist sound recording that flows in beautiful fashion that again you could hear being brought into further life with his Ensemble. That is not to say that this is a piece that would only be better with accompaniment, rather it is a testament to Guzzetti because his music has that grand scale feel to it that you can imagine the roar that this piece would have with further instrumentation. It is probably the stand out piece for me because of the consistency in the way it reveals parts of itself over the short three-minute journey. The emotion, the pace, the desire to hear more it’s all there.

“The Sky is Clear Now” close recording reveals an ambient slice of piano with long flowing airy drone like tendrils from the keys. I suspect with the title the music is represented this way or vice versa. The music is very airy and like with fluid movements and thought out progressions that work well in ambient music. There is a slight submerged feeling to the piano which accentuates the ambient feel of the track.

“Nuvole lontane” translates to “Far Clouds” and has a feeling of music that is traveling away from the listener. The music is composed of three main elements – a repetitive key progression, a light twinkle section and a bass section that drones out with a nice deep tone. The music flows away from the listener in waves and changes in tone as the keys roll in their loop like pattern. All the elements work together well creating a fusion of light elements with a moody undertone.

As mentioned before, the last four years have seen Guzzetti come into prominence in the Modern Classical/ Piano scene and with an earlier incarnation as Waves on Canvas, he has been releasing music since 2011. You sense an artist coming into his own and at the height of his powers. Try to search this release out from stockists of Home Normal, you won’t be disappointed.

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