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Sanfilippo: Piano Textures 4 (Bandcamp)

Sanfilippo has a broad repertoire of ambient instrumentalism under
his belt, and this is his fourth release focused primarily around the
piano as his axe of choice. Despite the name, the piano sounds herein
are fairly conventional, sounding perhaps closest to the pastoral,
star beauty of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s solo piano works. It’s a clever use
of the instrument, where nearly all of the music is comparised of
either traditionally playing the keys, tapping the strings inside, or
otherwise recording the guts of the piano to get the sounds he
requires. Only occasionally does he deviate into other sound sources,
such as the wailing background accents of “IV” or the deep, sub
bass low-end of “I.” The elegaic largo of “V” has all of the
romance of Chopin but with a tinge of tape decay wooziness, like it’s
playing back just a hair too slow.

Piano Textures 4 by Bruno Sanfilippo

I get a similar Chopin influence
on the repetitious, steady strikes of “VII”; I can’t help but
assume the likeness to Chopin’s so-called “Water Drop Prelude” is
deliberate, with the same delicate malaise of that prelude’s center
segmen. By virtue of their starkness, both of these provide a
contrast to the more cinematic sweep of “VI,” in which
Sanfilippo’s keys are joined by deep bass and soaring atmospheres, or
the elegant swoon of “VIII,” by which point Sanfilippo’s
oscillation between starkness and fullness becomes more obvious. He
saves the most painful beauty for last, in the reverberated
loneliness of “IX”’s plaintive keys and faint, droning overtones.
It’s a gorgeous collection of pieces that I can’t recommend enough,
varied in dynamics and arrangement while remaining loyal to the piano
as a focal point.

Buy it: Bandcamp