Olivia Belli is an Italian pianist and composer with her successful crowd sourced album “Where Night Never Comes” released on October 19. She has been releasing music since 2016 and has racked up more than four million streams of her music on Spotify. This sixteen track album she describes as feminine and she hopes to symbolize in her music the secret and unique female world. Track titles such as “Butterflies Danced” and “Your Mornings Sweet” and the cover art hint at this influence.
She notes of the album: “ “Where Night Never Comes” is a place of memory. It is my life, my passions, my interests and tells about my dears, my land, my surroundings. It’s the soundtrack of my daily life: a collection of big and small things that moved me, impressed me, left a trace on me. All together they symbolize my ideal day. A day that all of us sometimes experience, a day we wish it never finishes.”
The album despite having sixteen tracks is not overly long with the tracks averaging around two and half minutes in length. In a way this is a perfect length for music as it enables motifs to be established and harkening back to the spirit of punk rock, there is an immediacy and a no filler approach which leaves the pieces sounding complete, but also concise.
“Your Morning’s Sweet” opens the album with field recordings, but with a crystalline piano sound that I always personally identify with nostalgia. Opening and closing with strumming sounds (possibly from the piano’s strings itself), the music has a feeling of a season like spring, with the weather being warm, but not to hot and new life sprouting everywhere. “Sea Scales” exudes a comforting joy and confidence. The sound of the piano, the tone, the speed of the playing all add up to a cinematic piece of music that feels like a soundtrack to some sort of journey. It could be physical, personal one or emotional growth. The track has a flowing narative which makes it feels as if the destination is far from the original starting point.
“Quiet White Sky” gives me the impression of Belli, late one night when others are asleep and sitting alone at her piano and just playing. There is an improv feel to the track in the way it flows ever so slightly off-kilter. The music sounds gentle, there is no heavy-handedness. The sound that is created is one of pure introspection. The music goes through repeating motifs, but never quite the same as the time before. “Spiderwebs of Clouds” sounds like a grand piece with ripples of piano flowing out. Belli is at her most fluid and descriptive playing with emotion overflowing as the music reaches a peak intensity, before subtly being brought back towards the end of the track with minimalist phrasing bring the piece to a close. The change in intensity is almost like two sides of a coin.
“The Secret Vein” reduces the music down into smaller compact elements. The pace is slow, the playing is concentrated, once more sounding personal – but more of an observation piece rather than from the artist herself. It’s like she is documenting something that she has seen and just based on the tone of the piano, the minimalism that the track ends up finding itself in, it feels like a romance/relationship has died. “February Never Dies” which is featured below, is a measured piece where Belli takes her time to coax out her music from the instrument. The track doesn’t lean to any emotion like melancholy or joy and stays straight and true throughout. If I were to attach an emotion or feeling to it, it would be one of consistency. Whatever is going around on the outside does not affect or deviate the music in any way.
The previously mentioned “Butterflies Danced” on the other hand is a more expressive piece using fast repetition and a lyrical flair. The music is naturally up beat and I guess with the movements of the piece you could visualize the almost random like flight patterns of butterflies. “Invisible Pain” sees field recordings return of rain flowing and with the sound of the piano, you can visualize the piece being played in a largely empty cold room late at night/early in the morning. Musically it feels introspective. The playing feels slightly disjointed as if something is breaking down or if something traumatic has happened, and the music is pouring out as a reaction to this.
“Inside The Perfect Circle” returns to the naturalist recording of the opener, but this time the playing is one of expressiveness. While Belli holds forth with a rhythmic approach, she pairs this with the most fluid and fast paced playing which increases every so slightly with intent and conviction, as if she is desperately conveying something to the listener or that she is overjoyed. “The Usual Road” introspection returns as does cinematic feelings as you could imagine this piece being used in a piece about two old lovers and their relationship together. There is a gentleness to the piece that conveys people looking fondly at their shared past.
The introspection carries onto “Old Roots”, a solo piece that feels very melancholic with its slow, carefully thought out playing that revisits a motif that feels like a memory that keeps circulating around and around. As the track progresses its volume increases for a brief moment before returning to its normal level which could refer to the original origin of the memory and how fresh it is. “In Dry, Glassy Air” Belli produces a piece of fragility that echo outward. Repetitive in loop like forms that feel that over time they are unwinding, the tone of the piece conjures moods of memories that may be a little bittersweet.
“Salt Sea Wind” is the opposite to the previous track. The playing has more emphasis on speed and intensity, with more strident sounds being notable. While “In Dry, Glassy Air” was about looking inward, this track feels to be about expressing emotions freely. For some reason and it’s probably due to the tone of the piano and pace, I am reminded of old silent films that have passages of dialog between scenes. This track would fit in there perfectly.
“Happy Sand” introduces beach side field recordings which have waves crashing and people enjoying themselves. Musically, the piece is ebullient with a striking confident sound that cascades across several movements. You get the feeling that the track is influenced by joyous holidays as there is a fluid intent in the playing and tone of the piece. “Along A Wall” introduces you into Belli’s world with naturalist recording and a piece that feels deeply personal. It combines slow minimalism with emotive flurries and has a sense of music from the past embedded in it. “Wheeling Stars” field recordings of crickets usher in minimal piano which is about creating mood and ambience as it is telling a story. This track shows the most restraint Belli gets on the album and that sometimes music needs to be paired back, uncluttered, unhurried and just left to be something calm and relaxing to listen to.
It’s hard to carve out a niche in the Modern Classical world, but having some 69,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and a successful crowd funding, Belli clearly has staked out a piece of her own territory within this ever crowded genre. The success to this album is the length of tracks. As I mentioned before, the conciseness means that they are free from filler and as for the most part the album is solo piano, you are able to focus entirely on the music. If this sounds up your alley, then “Where Night Never Comes” should not disappoint. This album is available on CD/Vinyl/Digital and Sheet music from here.