Enrico Coniglio & Matteo Uggeri – Open to the Sea.

Dronarivm return to the musically fertile country of Italy for their latest release. Although the release is credited to Enrico Coniglio and Matteo Uggeri there are a decent amount of collaborators on this release such as vocals/lyrics coming from Francesca Amato’s (aka Comaneci), Lau Nau, Violeta Päivänkakkara and British actor John Guilor.  Extra brass from Fabio Ricci (Vonneumann), electronics from Guilio Aldinucci and Stella Riva (Satan Is My Brother) and mastering by James Plotkin rounds out the collaborators.

The label describes the collaboration as s result of fruitful email conversations and describes the collaboration as “Sweet and minimal melodies on piano, organ and guitar of Enrico meet the efforts of trumpet and drums of Matteo whose electronics treatment and delicate beats provide the solid ground to a music that seems a perfect match of the two artists sensibility.  “Open to the Sea” explores a variety of merging organic sounds where the calm and intimately of the album is disrupted by incursions of gentle noises and sometimes curious juxtapositions.”  

Coniglio describes himself as a Guitarist, environmental sound recordist and sound artist with an interest in the landscape aesthetics. He has previously appeared on labels such as Fluid Audio, Crónica Electronica, Taalem, Glacial Movements as well as co-running the digital label Galaverna. 

Matteo Uggeri is a frequent collaborator with releases with artists such as Andrea Ferraris, Maurizio Abate and Christiano Deison on labels such as Hibernate, Time Released Sound and Scissor Tail to name a few.

“Open to the Sea” starts off with Francesca Amato’s sweet sounding double track voice reciting the title. Ambient tones and granular glitches start the track which is no hurry floating at a gentle pace. Lau Nau’s haunting vocals float over the soundscape which is building in intensity ever so slightly before violin cuts through and field recordings of possibly a market place enter that are crisp enough to make you think they are there in the room with you. I would file this under electroacoustic sound art than as ambient per se.

“Jessaias de reduire mes medicaments” begins with Scanner-like recording of a phone conversation/ interview which is joined by melodic ambient tones and musical saw like drones which are peppered by glitchy electronics that are pulsing and phasing. This short track combines the experimental elements alongside the more the melodic electronica and fuses them together well.

“Up Over The Harbours Lights” Coniglio’s guitar opens the track in a blues like style alongside ambient drones that coincide with the final strum of the guitar before piano, industrial sounds, field recordings and samples enter the sound mix. The track shows the musicians soundtrack-esque construction to create a sound palate of dissimilar origins to work together.

“I Am The Sea” features Violeta Päivänkakkara on vocals and lyrics and starts with her ethereal vocals before melancholy minimal piano, guitars, synths, distant percussion, bells, electronics and trumpet fuses together to form a track that is so many genres mixed into one. The haunting trumpet that cuts through mixed with Päivänkakkara’s vocals, alongside piano and electronic and traditional percussion works so well as it covers post rock, electronica, Electroacoustic and soundtrack works so easily.

“Floating Metal Sheets” this experimental sounding track sees assistance from fellow Italian and Dronarivm artist Guilio Aldinucci. This track starts with acoustic guitars and some sort of background percussive noise source that I can’t get my head around. Some crackling electronics start and flutter with drones lightly covering them as a rolling noise pans left and right. Trombone joins the track with an effect similar to a car slamming on its breaks, before changing to slow mournful blowing over the acoustic guitars while electronics scatter about.

“Dutch Street Theatre” features UK voice over artist and actor John Guilor who has worked on Dr Who. Guilor’s narration is laid over piano, drones and violin and field recordings of people talking. I am not sure where the narration comes from and whether it is related to the theme of this album, but it doesn’t personally work for me.

“Now I’m Silent” starts with an electronic heart beat sound paired with darting drones, piano and percussive noise with electronic whistling, before venturing into jazz territory with wailing trumpet and electric guitar, disjointed gunshot drums. It’s a track of two quite separate halves that work well separately, but take time to get used to the differences.

“Allarme” begins with a broken piano like opening, before alarm sounds pan in and out and glitch electronics, cymbals and piano are gently caressed. Field recordings, possibly of radio or loud-speaker transmissions traverse the piece that is being slightly held together by piano while non traditional percussion rattles and rolls with brass instruments and intermittent sounds. Again Coniglio and Uggerri manage to fit a lot of source material in a piece that while at times seems like a juxtaposition, but also compliments one another.

“I Say I May Be Back” sees radio samples and static overload piano with a hint of paning banjo, guitars and percussion that has a nautical feel with Francesca Amato’s vocals that bring the album full circle with the recurring title line. The instruments one by one break down leaving Amato’s voice to finish out the album much like she started it.

“Open to the Sea” is not a straight forward album to get a handle on. There are so many constituent parts that make it up and it covers Ambient/Drone/Post Rock/Experimental/ Electroacoustic genres, sometimes in the same track. The thing it has going for it is it’s unpredictability and it’s depth is that it’s not a release that can be easily glossed over. Most of the tracks work extremely well and the depth that James Plotkin has gotten in the master allows for that richness and shows why he is one of the most popular masterers around.  There is a special version of the release limited to 50 copies which comes with a jigsaw and bonus digital ep.

https://soundcloud.com/dronarivm/i-am-the-sea

Jakob Lindhagen – Skörheten.

Jakob Linghagen from Stockholm, Sweden is one of the latest signings to the 1631 Recordings label and before he releases his 1631 Recordings debut proper they have re-issued his soundtrack “Skörheten” digitally and added 3 bonus tracks. If his name is familiar that is because his name graced this blog recently when he helped out on his girlfriend’s Vargkvint project.

Jakob, a multi instrumentalist, also records under the Other People moniker (previously known as “…”) and released the “Somewhere Far Away” CD and remix EP “Black Swans” on the Feeder Recordings labels. The project was split between the UK and Australia. He has also worked on other short films and other commissions.

“Skörheten” which translates to “Fragility” in English, is an award-winning Documentary film (Winner Newcomer of the year, Guldabaggegalan, Sweden, 2017 -Winner of Best Swedish Feature – The City of Gothenburg Award, Gothenburg Film Festival, 2017 as well as being nominated in other festivals). The film’s synopsis is “In the peak of her career documentary filmmaker Ahang Bashi falls down in a deep gorge of panic attacks and depression. With a skin deep precision, beautiful imagery and a black humor she carries the viewer into the swirling world of anxiety, sometimes dark and sometimes hopeful. With the camera as her tool she brings us back in time to the escape from Iran and the little girl who did not understand.”

“Intro” opens the album with slightly grainy humming vibrations with screeching droves cascading in an out, sounds that reach out like a pebble dropped in water, minimal piano and electronics.  As the film is about anxiety/panic attacks/depression the building humming and drones can replicate the onset of panic attacks and the minimal piano can represent the alone feeling of depression. A nice start to the album.

“Ett Mörker” which translates to “A Darkness” continues with similar grainy humming beginning and longer drones paired alongside a delicate piano line. It could almost be a reprise of “Intro” if not for the more ominous grainy electronics that form the underbelly of the track and come to the fore at the end and brings “The Darkness” to the track.

“Mottagningen” which translates to “The Reception” is a layered mournful piano piece with double bass that keeps the mood the same being a bit down beat. This theme follows into the track “Varför mår jag dåligt?” which translates to “Why am I miserable?” which opens with accordion alongside piano and double bass and has, naturally, a jazz meets noir feel to it. In the last-minute of the track it totally changes with rippling ,echoing presumably synthesizer keys floating out.

“Läggas in?” translated to “Being Admitted?” is mournful solo piano that conveys despair in its rolling keys, use of silence and the way Lindhagen uses the lengths of the notes to accentuate this. There is a slight section where you think the mood of the piece will change, but it keeps on with despair.

“I Parken” translates to “In the Park” opens with backward loops of some sort of string drone, double bass, piano, synthesizer and electronics. The piano and synthesizer parts work well together with the synthesizer having an aquatic feel to it, like slightly echoing or shimmering. The loops form a nice background for the other elements to add onto and give the piece pace.

“Fotot” translates to “The Photo” and is a reprise of “Varför mår jag dåligt?”, but is shorter and focuses a little more on the piano element.

“T-Centralen” translated to “The Central Station” shares similar opening elements as “Intro” before electronic sounds scatter about like glass balls rolling around, grainy/glitch loops , drones,  Sci Fi like synths all collide together in a pattern. Without seeing the movie the impression is of being in a central station at night, alone, isolated with impending anxiety crowding around someone. The track is a great slice of cinematic electronica which separates itself from the other tracks on the soundtrack. Naturally with it being a piece from the film the length is short to fit a scene, but it would be great to see this extended and fleshed out.

“Samtel med Roxy” translates to  “Conversation with Roxy” has some sound of steps or like a metronome with a distant noise and solo piano which continues with a walking sort of sound that changes to sharper keys in the middle of the track to the end. Again, not having seem the film the change in the piano of the track makes me think that there is a change in the conversation in the film. Whether that is good or bad change in the conversation I am not sure.

“Jävla Ångest” or “Damn Anxiety” is a stripped back solo piano track, hammers and all that mines the same territory as “Läggas in?”, but is very brief.

“Skörheten” which translates to “Fragility” takes a variation of the synthesizer part from the second half of “I Parken” as it’s central part. A humming sound supports the synthesized progressions with reverberating pinging keys that expand out and build up ever so slightly in intensity with a distant and growing distortion replacing the humming that ends in decay. I imagine this to be the music to match the end titles of the film.

“Skevheten”  which roughly translates to “The Skewedness” (and is a play on the word “Skörheten”) is a mere fragment of a track being only 33 seconds in length, but still gives the listener a visual impression to it’s aural key. For me it could be used in a scene where the character is looking at themselves in a mirror and examining all the parts of their face and the way they perceive themselves to look in the way that depression or anxiety can cloud over someone and affect the way they see themselves.

“Bra Liv” translates to “Good Life” and is the true essence of melancholic solo piano that appears to have some sort of echo effect at points where notes are slightly stretched out.

“I Parken 2”  aka “In the Park 2” takes the original piece and changes it from piano to Synth parts with the drones instead of being backward appear forward and three-quarters into the track percussion of a dubstep or trip hop persuasion comes and gives it a “versioning” feel rather than a remix.

Overall this is an impressive album with miniatures that would be great if expanded. It shows of Lindhagen’s talent and flexibility and a composer to use different elements to the tracks so it’s not a case of “same same”. I look forward to what he brings us on his next release. Totally recommended.

Nhung Nguyen – An Ordinary Narrative. 

Nhung Nguyen is a Vietnam based musician and sound artist who from 2011-2015 recorded as Sound Awakener and appeared on labels such as Soft (“Belonging to the Infinity” with Linear Bells), Unknown Tone Recordings (“Here cones the Acoustic Season” with Gallery Six) and Flaming Pines (Tiny Portraits – “Nocturnal Scenes”). Since 2015 she has been recording under her own name.

“An Ordinary Narrative” started with recording beginning in January of this year just after the release of “Nostalgia” and uses her standard upright Yamaha piano and a variety of out of tune pianos in public and private settings.

Nhung describes the Ep as for “the little moments in our lives. Bold, repetitive and simple are three suitable words to described the material…this Ep is the representation of my everyday life – a narrative which is both real and surreal. Seven piano pieces with a touch of soundscape are processed with a minimal level of editing to create a sense of imperfection. The raw quality in these pieces carry my honest and sincere feelings toward life, memories and music.”

“After Spring” has a lo-fi feel that gives it the impression of time and distance. There is a feeling of hope in the music mixed with a tinge of sadness that fills out the second half of the track. The difference between the themes of the two halves of the track are clear with a slight overlap in the middle.

“Memento” begins with lush ambient effect laden piano with stark notes matched with shimmering keys of which both fully fill up the sound so that there is no space, it is awash with sound. The tone of the shimmering keys is uplifting and is perfectly placed on top of those emanating ambient waves.

“Ode to Simplicity” returns to the lo-fi nature of “After Spring” (possibly recorded at same time or conditions) with the addition of a brief section of field recordings and has a melancholic but positive feel to it. The feel of the piece is like you are at a recital.

“An Ordinary Narrative” is the longest piece of the album and utilizes space with the opening being slowly paced, gently building up and being slightly melancholic. It is easy to see the reason behind the album sharing the title with this track. There is a lot of chance for the music to breathe. The use of out of tune pianos gives the track a bit of a hazy feel. There are several sections that make up the piece which make it not easily predictable to listen too, for instance towards the end is quite different to the start before the final reprise.

“Bittersweet” seems to be quite a random track, which I am not detecting a feel or motif. There are washes of field recordings that come in and out and the track ends rather suddenly. There are elements that are repeated, but it comes across, to me like an improvised track, which is rather different to the other composed ones.

“An End” is a short piece full of lo-fi natural sounds and is a gentle piece full of reflective playing. You can imaging Nhung sitting at the piano and early morning light shining in, it has that feel to it. Could be also nice at twice the length.

“Summer ’14” while the piano is the focal point there are enough effects on the recording to be more than just the some of the parts. There are drones and the piano has an icy feel to it, almost like stabbing sounds that work with the drones as they build up before quickly fading. Much like “The End” it is over before you know it. It would be interesting to see it extended with more electronics and even subdued beats of some sort as it has that quality to move across genres.

“An Ordinary Narrative” is available now.

Dominique Charpentier – Esquisses. 

Dominique Charpentier is a self-described “French indie minimalist musician and composer” who also is self released. His latest release is “Esquisses” which will be released via his Bandcamp page on June 23. “Esquisses”  features the artwork of artist Anna Salzmann who has just collaborated on a release with her partner Gareth Broke on 1631 Recordings. In the past he has composed for the short film “Genova” and computer games such as “Grim War” and released a CD called “Passages“. All his other releases are digital only.

For “Esquisses” he set an experiment for himself in that he would compose each track in less than two hours and to edit and mix in less than one. The idea being to test his creative process. Listening to the results you wouldn’t think that such pieces were the created in such a short time frame.

“Esquisses” means a rough or preliminary sketch, which listening to these tracks the feeling is quite the opposite. More like the tracks are well fleshed out. Coming in at a hardcore record length, these 5 pieces are over in 12 minutes and 12 seconds.

“Esquisse I” opens the ep with a romantic feel to it. The undercurrent is well paced with a frantic piece over the top that starts off mid paced before increasing in its intensity before matching the slower relaxed pace as the piece draws to a close. At a little over 2 minutes in length it is a piece that sets the tone for the ep and would be even more of a delight if it was three times this length.

“Esquisse V” is the first track to add in extra instrumentation with the addition of mournful strings that compliment the piano, which has a more ambient and abandoned set of sound, as if it was recorded in an empty room. Ambient waves of synth replace the string part towards the end and add an extra dimension to the track.

“Esquisse IV” is a slow rolling delicate piece that has a crystalline piano sound with light keys which is joined swirling Synth ambiance in the background before a darker bass tone takes over and the Synth takes equal center space with the piano. Neither instrument blocks the other and they coexist perfectly, complimenting each other and making it equally a Modern Classical and Ambient piece.

“Esquisse I” sees the more frantic undercurrent running piano keys compliment with higher notes that exist in both minimal and maximal spheres and provide great melody and structure. The beauty of just the piano recording is you can hear the instrument rather than just the keys, like the hammers and the pedals. The track has an interlude at the half way point before the track starts up again slowly building steam and while not reaching the same intensity, ends on a satisfying bass note.

“Esquisse III” sees the return of the strings which are a highlight of this all too brief a track. A slow to mid paced track for something so short, 2 minutes and three seconds, its quite epic in stature. The chords of the piano would suit some vocals lines (not unlike Nils Farm’s “Hammers”) to add icing on the cake.

It would be easy to see this ep as something more than it is. It could easily be part of a soundtrack to a feature film. The length of the tracks are perfect and make great little vignettes. For an artist that is used to being self released, he could easily slot into the roster of say 1631 Recordings.

Totally Recommended.

Vargkvint – Brus.

Originally self released late last year, the French micro label Soft Recordings, run by David Teboul aka Linear Bells, on June 10 released a physical 6 panel Digipak version with two bonus tracks and amended artwork in a limited edition of only 70 copies.

It is fairly easy to see why Soft re-issued this and fits in well with their stable of releases that have included Darren Harper, Kate Carr, EUS and of course Linear Bells. This release is just simply one of those that come along and captivate you from the start and you hope that more than a limited audience gets to experience it.

Drawing inspiration from forests, oceans and folklore, VARGKVINT is Stockholm based solo musician Sofia Nystrand who plays piano, vocals,  harmonium,  musical saw, zither, kalimba,  glockenspiel and is joined by Jakob Lindhagan (who’s “Skörheten” Soundtrack reissued by 1631 Recordings will be reviewed in a few weeks time) on synthesizer and Linear Bells on the track “Varg”. The name Vargkvint translates to “Wolf Fifth” and comes from the dissonant interval in ancient tuning systems.

The label describes the album as a “highly evocative collection of songs, built haunting melodies and minimal lyrical fragments sung in both English and her native Swedish. Combined with playful arrangements and unexpected instrumentation , it results in something that most closely and we described as a soundtrack to artist John Bauer’s dark fairy tale paintings – as if the celestial tunes of the Icelandic pop music scene had been drenched heavy proportions of Swedish melancholic mindset.”  I couldn’t agree more.

The opener “Utåt” which translates to “Outside” starts with a field recording of an impending storm which is best heard at volume to appreciate. A slightly mournful minimal piano melody comes into picture, delicately played with the occasional sound of the hammers. It is joined by a slight siren-esque sound followed by wordless vocals before it makes a retreat to leave the piano unaccompanied.  This lasts for a short while before the squall and all the other elements return this time with layered vocals which all together build up and are joined  presumably by the harmonium.  The elements are then taken over by the squal and for a brief period of silence the piano and vocals (this time singing in Swedish) return. Before you know it the track is over, but it has whetted your appetite for more (indeed just hearing this track made me contact the label for the full album).

“Midsommer” opens again with storms and an almost nautical sound of parts of a boat crackling and swaying in the storm. A Minimal piano looped rhythm meets muted vocals and with a similarly styled kalimba melody that gives it a whimsical feel in contrast to the darker piano parts. The track is nice and concise in its 2 minutes 47 seconds length.

“Natten Kryper” which translates to “Night Creeper”  starts off with Harmonium and the first singing of the album in Swedish. The track also features layered vocals to great effect that work together with the humming sound of the harmonium. Squal like electronic loops spiral around oh so subtly in this finely layered piece.

“Corners (of my mind)”, blame growing up in the 80’s for my disdain for vocals in music. Overblown vocalists ruin the art of singing. Thankfully artists such as Sofia (and the likes of Chantal Acda) breathe life into vocals with a subtlety and nuanced performance that a track like this can be based largely on the vocal performance and shine. The track opens with a reverse loop, a short bright drone and kalimba (although to be honest it could possibly be glockenspiel as I find it hard to differentiate the two) before Sofia’s vocals (in English this time) come in. The recording of them is so vibrant that you feel that she is in the room right next to you. Doubled vocals on the words “Mind” and “Hide” emphasise the chorus and for a section the vocals have 3 layers which add more melody to the song.

“Dimma” which translates to “Fog” is a piano piece which is quite melancholic with heavy bass notes,  layered shimmering vocals that glide in and out, zither and kalimba before Swedish vocals accompany the piano. The piano is precisely timed to give the track a rhythmic beat. My only complaint is that it could be longer as it seems to end just when it starts to get really interesting.

“Brus” which translates to “Noise” starts with storm field recordings, minimal vocals, musical saw, what sounds like a need report with a male speaking in Swedish, zither, electronic loops likes those from “Natten Kryper” and other electronics is probably this most experimental track on the album. It comes more across as a sound collage compared to the other tracks and lives up to the name of the track.

“Varg (with Linear Bells)” which translates to “Where” is a collaboration with Linear Bells who is one if the finest drone exponents in my opinion and it sounds like the track is started by David with layered piano, Sofia’s vocals and drones and what sounds like synthesizer added. Effects are added to the vocals adding depth and making them part of the drone palate. This track sonically has most going on in it which makes it stand out from the others, but also compliments them as it comes after “Brus” aka “Noise” and builds in it. It is also a nice counterpoint to the way the album starts so minimally. The track ends with a winding down sound and silence for the last 30 seconds.
Overall this is a fine debut (the second time around) that I can’t recommend enough for people to hear. If I do the trend of what blogs do with a “Best Of ” list at the end of year I can see this easily making the list.

The original release artwork:

wp-image-1925340535.

Roberto Attanasio – Behind Those Eyes I Rest.

Behind Those Eyes I Rest

“When I was thirteen I started producing music with my computer, passing through many genres. I was fascinated by the possibility to manipulate the sound with equalizers, compressors and new digital technologies. The first timed I touched my little midi keyboard I tried to compose a little track without knowing anything about the instrument. In that moment I saw the piano as the best way to express myself and I started my musical studies” – Roberto Attanasio

Italians are renowned for their passion, be it cooking, the arts, romance. So it is no surprise that when it comes to one of the most passionate forms of music, Modern Classical,  they are amongst the front-runners in this genre. No coincidence is that five reviews into this blog’s short life and the third Modern Classical release reviewed again comes from an Italian artist, this time its Roberto Attanasio.
It seems that Roberto just appeared in 2016 with two albums (“Abyss” and “Another Shade”) and the two singles (“Shade” and “Run”) all on the 1631 Recordings label. But he had in fact released the single “Closed” back in 2014 for an audio video project with Chris De Krijger (which can be viewed here). This year he contributed “Somnus”  to the “Piano Clouds Vol. 3” and on May 26 sees the release his new digital single “Behind  These Eyes I Rest”, again on 1631 Recordings.

This two song Ep/single with striking blood film looking cover art was composed, arranged and produced at his home studio in Italy using a Kawai BL 71 vertical piano with the harp of a grand piano. In an email exchange Roberto states that “I usually create piano solo compositions just because some of my ideas come from improvisation. ..I’m very inspired by the act of playing for hours and take one particular good ideas I found. This Ep is completely different because I created it in a few days, thanks to he fact that I had these songs in mind from the start to the end.”
“Behind Those Eyes” , which is 3 minutes 16 seconds in duration has 3 distinct movements. It starts with ambient sounds, in that I mean environmental sounds and sounds of the piano itself and some sort of ‘clacking’ sound that gives you the impression that the windows have been opened to let in light and sound. The piece builds rather quickly with the first motif, a rolling ever so slightly melancholy part coming in only 12 seconds into the track which becomes the main part of the track until at the one minute mark where strings come in and more immediate melodic part adds to the melancholy. At the two-minute mark after a very slight pause an upper register section appears, underplayed by a more mournful part which balances each other out, giving light and shade and which guides the remainder of the track through till its final section of strings and minimal piano. Interestingly the ‘clacking’ sound re-appears at the end as if returning the journey back to the start.For a piece that is relatively short in duration there are several movements that appear to mark the track as being longer, which is something that you would be happy if it happened.

The second track “I Rest” which runs for 3:00 minutes in duration, the familiar mix of strings and piano playing which while it doesn’t have the same amount of movements as its predecessor, has consistent pace and phrasing that allows it flow well. The strings are used to highlight and accompany the piano without drawing attention away from it.  There is bright uplifting feel about the track, which could be explained by the previous quote from Roberto about his joy and inspiration of just playing the piano.

As Roberto mentioned in our email exchange in regards to his method of writing /recording his music “The only thing I had to do was transcribe I had in mind, and that was incredible because what you listen to is exactly the song I played in my mind. I didn’t do any change respect to my music thoughts and maybe this is the beauty of the Ep : spontaneous and intimate.”

I think the last word of that quote best sums it up this Ep and the recording style of it. – intimate.

“Behind Those Eyes I Rest” is out on May 26 via 1631 Recordings.

roberto_attanasio_3

Stefano Guzzetti – Alone (night music for piano solo).

Stefano Guzzetti is an Italian musician and composer who has also recorded under the Waves on Canvas alias. His works have been released on esteemed labels such as Home Normal, P*Dis,  Brooklyn Bridge Records and his own Stella Recordings imprint. He was signed to Mute Publishing in 2016 and has had the legendary Vaughan Oliver (v23/4ad fame) design some of his covers. His most recent release on the Stella Recordings imprint, “Alone (night music for piano solo)” sold out its 100 copy run in 24 hours.

The initial impression is the recording is lo-fi which lends to it a feeling of intimacy in that you are there during the recordings.  The truth is that, as alluded in the title, these pieces were recorded during nights across 2016 where  Stefano used pieces of felt next to the piano strings as not to disturb people. The emphasis was to play quiet pieces which he has succeeded with on this album, that clocks in just over half an hour in duration.

While I have no musical training or understanding of the various styles of piano playing I have to observe from the moods or themes I feel are presented in the pieces to understand and appreciate them.

With a genre like Modern Classical it is quite easy for the music to be mournful or melancholic. An instrument like piano can fully embed the genre with a specific tone or sound. With titles like “Alone”, “Sleepless” and “Fade” as well as the album’s title can lead the listener to an easy first impression, but I do not think this is so.

The album opened up with “Home” a filmic piece that brings to mind of a movie scene where a person is making a long journey, by foot back to their home. The video that accompanies the track has a home movie vibe to it. “Sleepless” follows next and is an early highlight with its layer of elements and motifs. The playing has a consistency and the repetition (in a good way) is central to the piece. “Alone” feels it could be an accompaniment to “Sleepless” and is the first track in which the padding is first heard.

“Night” is a more mournful piece which is almost drone like where the notes are extended out with presumably some additional synth. The piece changes where at first the image is of a late night contemplative piece,  but with the introduction of the drone makes it evolve into a dawn rising piece. It is the second highlight of the album.

“Moonlit” is a classic Modern Classical piece with rolling lines and alternating harmonies and shows Stefano is adept at his craft.

“Berceuse” mixes the melancholy with sharper tones. The word Berceuse means “a musical composition that resembles a lullaby. Tonally most berceuses are simple, often merely alternating tonic and dominant harmonies “. While my aforementioned lack of musical knowledge once again comes to the fore, I can safely say this piece does not come across as simple and merely alternating tones.

“Closer”, ironically the penultimate track once more brings more film image with its rolling piano lines that bring up visions of some sort of resolution in a relationship.  The album’s actual final track, the seven minutes long “Fade” brings the pace back with minimal tones and additional synth drones that become the central piece of the track and makes great bookend for the album, in fact it could be the standout track.

This is another fine release by Stefano and his Stella Recordings label and piques the interest in his forthcoming Home Normal release due out by the end of the year.