by rik · ping things
Have I ever had anything bad to say about Bruno Sanfilippo? I don't
think so. I've enjoyed all of his releases over the last few years,
and I'm quite sure that he gets better with every disc that comes
out. Which brings me to his latest collaborative work with Mathias
Grassow, "Cromo", an excellent follow up to their earlier
disc "Ambessence Piano and Drones". Like it's predecessor,
"Cromo" uses processed piano and deep drones combined with
a few sparse elements to create very appealing and satisfying aural
environments. It's a fine example of artists working together and
it shouldn't surprise anyone that I think it's brilliant.
"Cromo Piano & Drones 1" begins the disc with a steady
drone that plays throughout the track. A familiar piano melody floats
into the track, bringing to mind previous work from Sanfilippo, moving
the piece along in a slowly flowing stream. It's a subtle piece, a
beautiful example of the work that Sanfilippo and Grassow do together,
and a wonderful introduction to the rest of the disc.
"Cromo Piano & Drones 2" follows, a deep warm drone
paired with sparse piano to add colour to the soundfield. For this
track the drone provides a sense of movement rather than Sanfilippo's
piano playing, making for an interesting shift in sonic dynamics.
The end result is a very nicely enveloping musical space, a very appealing
environment for the listener.
"Cromo Piano & Drones 3" has an air of mystery about
it, a feeling of urgency and fear that permeates the track to it's
core. It's an interesting use of sonics, as the root drone in the
track is able to convey a strong sense of expansion and development,
and of tension and movement despite minimal shifts in tone. A really
great example of soundshaping from two masters of the art.
"Cromo Piano & Drones 4" starts with an oscillating
drone, a spiraling sound that weaves throughout the soundfield. It
works nicely on a primal level, evoking an emotional response in the
listener as it continues. The track slowly builds and sounds shift
in a fluid way as time passes, with more effected elements added to
the mix, moving the soundscape from a natural state to a haunted automated
"Cromo Piano & Drones 5" pairs a steady drone with unprocessed
piano resulting in a wonderfully thick space-y track where tones twinkle
and shimmer beautifully. As time passes the track eventually turns
inward, shifting from outer space to inner space, eventually breaking
down into a subtle and sparse environment deep with emotion. Probably
my favorite track on the disc.
"Cromo Piano & Drones 6" employs deep, dark piano chords,
a somber minor key melody laying the groundwork for a larger piece.
A thick bass-y drone fills out the space of the song and as time progresses
moods shift and sounds become more expressive. A lovely track to end
It shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm quite fond of "Cromo",
indeed I think it stands up as some of the best work I've heard form
Sanfilippo and Grassow, both collaboratively and as solo artists.
You owe it to yourself to check this one out, whether you're a long-time
fan of either artist or you're new to either of their work. Certainly
one of my favorite releases of the year so far.
by Richard Gürtler
Argentinian ambient/modern classical composer Bruno Sanfilippo (based
in Barcelona) has teamed up with German drone master Mathias Grassow
for their already second collaboration entitled "CROMO [Piano
I really respect both these artists and I am always pleased by collaborations
like this, they can be only fruitful and "CROMO" is no exception.
So what they are bringing to the table? As usual for Mathias, he is
coming with his typical and trademarking subtle walls of drones, smoothly
and gracefully floating on the background while Bruno is adding some
fragile and intimate piano sounds to the front.
This blend works together more than efficiently, it's very compact,
personal and relaxing.
It's evident in the first of six untitled pieces, with Bruno's absolutely
beautiful piano melodies, while Mathias is backing up with distant
and continous drones. What a journey! The next composition brings
both artists on the same level, drones are more monumental and expansive
and piano is less transparent, very enjoyable too. In the next composition
Bruno adds more gradual tension and movement in his piano,
certainly one of the best pieces on the album. Also the next composition
is quite dramatical and monumentally drifting with more leveled parts
of both musicians. Finger mastery of Bruno again steps into the fore
on the next one, this is probably the most emotional composition on
"CROMO" and another highlight with skillfully balanced piano
The closing, over 19 minutes long, piece is comprised of slowly evolving
passages and immense sonic walls with deeply immersed piano.
Very dark, but absolutely beautiful travel. "CROMO", with
delicately crafted acoustics and electronics, is another highly recommended
of both these masters!!!
by Matt Howarth · Sonic Curiosity
This release from 2010 offers 62 minutes of ambient piano music.
Delicate piano melodies blend with controlled
drones to produce tuneage of a highly relaxing nature.
Sanfilippo settles down and lets his fingers
caress the ivories, coaxing forth languid chords that sinuously undulate
into soothing melodies.
The music is soft and personal, drawing the listener into a realm
of crisp piano expressions which incite pleasant moods.
The songs are restrained and consist mainly of gentle notes that glisten
as they drift on the air.
Meanwhile Grassow applies crafted drones to
the melodies, generating layers of atmospheric moodiness which hangs
shimmering in the background. These texturals enhance the traditional
piano melodies with their ethereal embellishment, flavoring the recital
medium with the modern touch of tenuous electronics.
The last track is a long one, allowing the music
to unfurl at a calm pace and gradually evolve into variations of gentle
These compositions achieve a lovely temperament,
combining classical keyboards with electronic enhancement in a very
An introspective disposition is created that seeps into the listener's
cortex and smoothes the cerebral folds into a mental landscape of
by John Shanahan · hypnagogue.netfirms.com
My appreciation for Bruno Sanfilippo's music
has grown over his past few releases. First he caught my ear with
the spacey constructs of Auralspace; then he deftly blended beautiful
piano melodies with understated electronics on Piano
Textures 2. Now, teaming up with renowned ambient artist Matthias
Grassow, he brings the feel of those two discs together perfectlyand
elevates itin CROMO.
In these six untitled tracks, Sanfilippo and Grassow maneuver deftly
around each other in a set of perfect dances.
The balance is superb, with neither element overpowering the other.
There is rise and fall, movement and stillness.
Empty spaces are gracefully filled by sounds that flow into the moment
at the right moment.
As always, Sanfilippo's piano playing is patient, notes hanging and
hovering, quietly describing the emotional stories here.
Grassow's drones work their way from dust-in-sunlight glimmers to
dark-spin driftshis creations in Track 4 have such a distinct
Steve Roach feel
I had to check my iPod to see if I'd moved on to another CD! This
is a disc I gladly put on repeat for low-volume looping, and which
is absolutely fulfilling when given a deep, attentive listen. CROMO
piano & drones is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.
by Paul Jury · Morpheus Music
STYLE: Delicate Steinway Old Lady Grand Piano impressions and subtle,
air-filled drones. Mathias Grassow lays down a series of gossamer
drone textures reminiscent of distant fogs - hazy, grey beds of transparent
tone with shifting densities that seep into the consciousness softening
the atmosphere, drenching the soundscape. These electronic formations
at times recede and hang in the background allowing Bruno Sanfilippo's
piano work to dominate, but in other places they well up and fill
the senses becoming dense, intense, engrossing. The piano parts are
achingly beautiful and melodic on some tracks - sparse, unhurried
developments that seem to pour straight from the heart of the player.
There are also darker passages of finger runs looming from the relative
stillness of the synths. Sometimes the ivories sink deep within the
mists, reverberating gently, becoming a part of the air or are so
heavily effected as to merge with the backdrop.
ARTWORK: CROMO is a jewel case presentation with a fold-out insert.
Cover art is all comprised of soft shades of grey with abstract light
patterns arcing and streaking the surface. The front cover holds a
central image between broad bands of grey and simple titles. On the
back the tracks are listed against respective times. The sleeve insert
opens out to reveal a page of credits and a gear list for both Grassow
and Sanfilippo. Here too are web site details and contact information.
The innermost double page spread is given over to a glassy abstraction
in grey with the legend CROMO = Cr as the only text.
CROMO [piano & drones] is the latest collaboration from Bruno
Sanfilippo and Mathias Grassow released via Bruno's own ad21music
label. The album follows up the highly respected Ambessence:
Piano and Drones album of 2008 (also reviewed at Morpheus Music).
This current work delivers six mesmerising compositions ranging in
length from just over seven minutes to the powerful nineteen minute
nineteen second conclusion - sixty two minutes in total. The melancholy
grace of the first release is once again present but this time there
is a darker tone tugging at the music a dramatic sense of anticipation.
by Bert Strolemberg · Sonicimmersion
For this work of art, Mr Sanfilippo and Mr Grassow have teamed up
a second time, together creating a smooth and quiet sonic soundscape
to follow-up their critically acclaimed Ambessence. The
six chapters on CROMO offer 62 minutes of
intimate soundings which sees a precise interplay of Brunos
Old Lady Grand Piano and Mathias vast, transparent and fluid drone
The outcome is delicate, sensitive, glacial and hypnotizing, a slow
drift with a soothing, mesmerizing effect.
My personal highlights are the vast spaces explored on the third and
fifth installment, which both reach out to a grand design of things.
Yes, Cromo once more truely illustrates
the labels vision that instrumental music can lead the soul
into a state of sacred intimacy.
Chapeau, Mathias and Bruno.
Next to digital download formats from MusicZeit,
the album is also available as factory-pressed cd from the label.
by Roberto Vales · A Ultima Fronteira
Estamos ante la nueva colaboración de Bruno Sanfilippo y Mathias
Grassow, dos nombres que no necesitan ningún tipo de presentación,
dos músicos capaz de trasladarnos con sus composiciones al
interior de nuestro ser, a las profundidades de la naturaleza o lo
más profundo del espacio.
Publicado por el sello ad21music , Bruno se vuelve a sentar detrás
de esa maravilla llamada Steinway Old Lady Grand Piano y sus notas
nos vuelven a sumergir en esos paisajes íntimos y profundos
que de forma tan espectacular es capaz de recrear, Mathias se encarga
de los drones para reforzar el sentimiento y la profundidad de la
música de Bruno.
"Cromo [piano & drones]" son seis composiciones, seis
temas de belleza lírica, de sonidos íntimos y transparentes,
de sonidos envolventes,
que nos van atrapando a lo largo de los 62 minutos que dura este trabajo.
"Cromo [piano & drones]" es un trabajo de piano y drones,
el propio título lo indica, de la mano de dos maestros que
nos tienen acostumbrados a llevarnos por su terreno con su música
y que en esta ocasión lo han vuelto a hacer, aportando profundidad
y brillantez a unos temas, que cada vez que los escuchas, quieres
volver a escucharlos para seguir descubriendo cosas nuevas, nuevos
sonidos, nuevas sensaciones, nuevas maravillas...