by Leonards Lair
As a classically trained musician and composer, we can naturally expect
that Buenos Aires-born Bruno Sanfilippo is no slouch when it comes
to releasing instrumental albums of original material. As the title
'Piano Textures 3? makes clear, this is the third in a series of albums
by the artist, with the whole trilogy now available in a handy boxed
From the opening keys of 'Piano Textures 3 I', there's a sense that
this is going to be a melodically and texturally rich yet rather depressing
affair. Indeed, the mood on the first two pieces speaks of a soundtrack
to tragic 1970?s films such as 'The Go Between' or 'Don't Look Now',
perhaps; beautiful yet unavoidably downbeat. Then 'III' signals quite
a dramatic turn; the keys unfolding like petals of a new flower, such
is the feeling of optimism that is generated.
Sanfilippo employs the minimum of surroundings to the key instrument
but does this effectively whether it's the odd clanging of bells,
distant voices or bird song. Yet in a rare moment of relative extravagance,
'V' is accompanied by strings and samples of waves. It's hardly Sigur
Ros territory but you could certainly visualise it underscoring nature
documentaries. Elsewhere there's a lovely yet flowing contrast between
the stark 'VI' and the fragrant shimmer of 'VII' but these serve as
mere interludes for the stately, stirring finale. It's the only track
which stretches to the ten minute mark but not a moment is wasted.
Sanfiliippo's expertise with the piano cannot be disputed. Yet of
more significance is that this is instrumental music with a very tangible
emotional power. The fact that they are original compositions makes
these endeavours all the more impressive since they sound like set
texts from a bygone age, with only the ambient touches to distinguish
them from a vintage era.
by Headphone Commute
I first discovered Bruno Sanfilippo back in 2007, when this Galvani
Conservatory (Buenos Aires) musical composition graduate released
Piano Textures on his very own AD21 label which he co-runs with Max
Corbacho since 1998. I somehow missed the second volume of Piano Textures
which came out in 2009, but I am extremely grateful to Sanfilippo
for furnishing the third! And if this is your first encounter with
this Spanish composer, I'm happy to point you towards a limited and
signed box set edition of all three volumes! But back to music. The
subdued sequentially titled pieces explore the depth and multitude
of textures that, to my continued amazement, can be extracted from
the instrument. There is lyricism, elegance and poise in every single
track, balanced with just a touch of post-processing with slight reverb
and delay. The atmospheres are colorful and bright, at times complimented
with field recordings of water, singing birds and strings. The eight
compositions are rather lengthy in time, with most passing over the
six-minute mark, allowing the listener to get fully engrossed in the
melody, structure and sound. "My master used to say," quotes
Sanfilippo on the liner notes of the album, "on the lighted stage
or in front of the awaken microphones, dream! Don't be really there
while you improvise, then you will make your audience dream as well."
I will surely take that advice...
ATTN: Magazine · Jack Chuter
"My master used to say, on the lighted stage or in front of the
awaken microphones, dream! Dont be really there while you improvise,
then you will make your audience dream as well.
Perhaps Bruno Sanfilippo actually intended for this liner note statement
to be as ambiguous as it is, or perhaps the actual meaning was snagged
on the prickly obstacle of mistranslation. Regardless, Ive interpreted
dont be really there to mean letting ones
self be consumed by the act of improvisation; swatting even the idea
of pre-meditation out of the picture, re-positioning both player and
listeners as the audience of pure chance. Thus, instead of dreaming
into the limitations of human personality and habit, one can dream
into the infinite.
But in the knowledge that Sanfilippo is a classically trained composer
and performer with two decades of experience behind him, one gets
more than just a glimpse of his melodic sensibility and technical
refinement; the music runs up and down major scales and exhibits an
adherence to tempo, scuttling with the fluidity and light touch of
a particularly gentle (but impeccably precise) ballet dance. Even
the shadows of other artists creep into view (Enos piano-driven
waterfall cascades, Sakamotos serene open plains), and rather
than be liberated from the human image, I feel constantly reminded
of its central presence.
Aside from those tracks that wallow in overly saccharine film soundtrack
(Im looking at you, track five), by no means is this meant as
a criticism. My favourite moments are those that actually utilise
these classical tendencies via the musics mercurial execution.
The sixth piece, for example, tiptoes gently forward into an open
window of sampled morning conversation and birdsong, with low notes
struck and left to bounce softly against the string. During moments
like this, which cushion themselves beautifully within the confines
of major key, I realise that initial interpretation of the quote above
is perhaps inaccurate. Sanfilippo does not pursue the absolute evaporation
of humanity from his recording; I reach this dreamstate through the
musics unbroken serenity, and while his status as a polished
composer/performer is ever-present, there comes a point that Im
too blissfully away to care.
Electroacoustic Tales · Christopher Berg
Well, Im a bit late with this review. The album has been released
earlier this year and Ive been able to listen to it even before.
But at first I didnt find the words, then I didnt find
the time to write something about Piano Textures 3' by Bruno
Sanfilippo. Finally today I find both, words and time.
There are many solo piano releases that were presented to the audience
in 2012. Most of them claim to be improvised completely. Most of
them certainly are. But while Nils Frahms Felt
was the most fabulous and intimate one that made you feel like sitting
inside the piano during the recordings, Bruno Sanfilippos
Piano Textures 3' is a beautiful contrast that makes you feel
like sitting far far away from the piano. Maybe even far above.
Sometimes it seems to be a dedication to Frédéric
Chopin, but the year of Chopin was in 2010 already so that I guess
that its just the favourite tonality that Bruno shares with
Mr. Chopin (and maybe like most pianists he used to
play many of Chopins Nocturnes, Impromtus and Préludes).
Then, suddenly, Débussy-esque pentatonic elements and consecutive
fourths and fifths appear and build beautiful clouds of piano textures
and echoes. II definitely is the highlight of the album,
the best considered and also from my point of view
best played improvisation that I could find on Piano Textures
3'. Again reminding me a lot of Débussy Bruno uses the complexion
and scales of old spanish dances. Skillful additions of dissonances
bring that certain variety and denseness that catches at least my
attention. Definitely the most outstanding piece.
Some elements of it return in beautiful variations on track VII.
Besides, VI creates a very special atmosphere due to
the field recordings and the feeling of sudden closeness to the
piano and pianist. The epilogue is sort of a meditation in b flat
and gives this beautifully calm album the finishing touch.
Bruno has a pleasantly discreet behaviour at the piano as far as
I can imagine from listening to the recordings and I really like
Piano Textures 3' is a hibernal album, not just because I
listened to it again today while looking at the snow-covered streets
here in Berlin.
Ambient Music Guide.com · Top 10 best albums 2012
With his third collection of solo and almost-solo piano pieces, I
can confidently declare that Bruno Sanfilippo now dwells in realms
inhabited by such gifted artists as Harold Budd and Tim Story. Piano
music with ambient qualities is hardly new - Eric Satie (1866-1925)
was doing it well over a century ago - and yet Piano Textures III
reminds us what a potent vehicle the style remains for the gifted
artist. It's interesting that the versatile Sanfilippo is not even
a piano specialist; just look at his wide and often wonderful discography
including last year's Subliminal Pulse (2011). Like its two predecessors,
Piano Textures III is essentially a solo piano album, with a smattering
of environmental samples, some subtle synthesiser effects, and on
one track some warm sympathetic cello. The music swims in a slightly
reverberating space but the sound isn't as blurry and washed-out as,
say, some of Budd's trippiest pieces. The slowest numbers - "Part
I" "Part II" and the closing track - exist in kind
of emotional twilight; neither dark nor light, reflective but not
sad, steeped in mystery and quiet wonder. The spaces in between are
as profound as the notes. "Part III" is more openly loving
relaxed, an impressionist piece suggesting a sunlit grove or peaceful
riverside . The fast, looping patterns of "Part IV" suggest
wind or running water and also echo some of a Philip Glass film scores.
"Part VII" meshes piano, harp and organ build a lovely,
droning wall of sound.
by Rik MacLean · ping things
Bruno Sanfilippo has impressed me once again with the release of
his latest, Piano Textures 3.
The third installment in his ongoing series finds Sanfilippo in top
form, beautiful soundscapes created through a series of delicately
crafted piano pieces.
By turns haunting and intimate, "Piano Textures 3" proves
once again that Sanfilippo is an incredibly gifted artist.
"Piano Textures 3" features eight textures masterfully played
by Sanfilippo with all the skill and technique that his fans have
grown to expect from him.
His playing is stunningly beautiful, magic from his hands that evokes
rich imagery and emotions.
And as with the other albums in the series, Sanfilippo's piano is
played with minimal effects or processing, allowing the music to flow
unfiltered, letting the listener revel in its charms and beauty,
a natural showcase for Sanfilippo's abundant talents.
Trying to pick a favorite song on the album, even trying to describe
them individually, is a challenge that I'm not up to as a writer,
but suffice to say that "Piano Textures 3" is a wonderful
and beautiful album that I will be listening to constantly for the
At the very least until the release of another new album from Bruno
Sanfilippo reminds me again how very much I enjoy his work.
Per Ettore Garzia · Percorsi Musicali
La ricerca di benessere spirituale non è certo una novità
nella musica, anzi per molti musicisti ne è stato lo scopo
se non anche il punto di arrivo; tante le fonti su cui basarsi, tra
le quali però un posto importante se lo sono guadagnati coloro
che subdolamente hanno affrontato il problema cercando un afflato
contemplativo partendo dal concetto di risonanza.
E' noto come il romanticismo ha azionato il motore di questa ricerca
tra i suoni: prendendo in considerazione solo il pianoforte, di fatto
tutta la letteratura romantica si costruì su variazioni di
intensità che erano provocate non solo dalla forza di polsi
e dita dei pianisti, ma anche dall'uso dei pedali; con il passaggio
al novecento questi semplici mezzi sembravano già non più
bastare e questo è chiaro non appena si pensi all'imponenza
dei clusters pianistici di Cowell e dei post-modernisti americani
o alle sfumature delle variazioni figurative di Scriabin o Debussy
che prospettavano composizioni basate anche sulla necessità
di riconoscere e configurare gradazioni di colore diverso in rapporto
alla "tessitura" della musica; la risonanza divenne pietra
angolare per pianisti come Satie che ne avevano compreso la portata
ambigua indicando un percorso a due alternative: da una parte un evidente
rincorsa nella ricerca di cristalizzazioni musicali che dessero un
significato a sentimenti come la nostalgia o il ricordo*, dall'altra
quella sorta di rivestimento (ameublement) della musica data dall'invariabilità
delle strutture. Storicamente è risaputo che Satie non era
particolarmente gradito all'intelligenza musicale del suo tempo, la
quale non gradiva situazioni che presumibilmente potevano rivelarsi
effimere, tant'è che il francese fu ripreso in considerazione
solo circa 70 anni dopo grazie all'avvento di pianisti consequenziali
come Harold Budd (nell'àmbito di un più ampia riscoperta
fatta dal genere ambient) e quelli new age (che ne condividevano però
anche l'aspetto del rilassamento); da lì è partita una
generosa "inflazione" di quei suoni fatto di poche note,
ridondanti, che ha coinvolto in larga scala le nuove generazioni di
musicisti, specie europei, che hanno riconsegnato a popolarità
un tessuto musicale che in fin dei conti mostrava uno status evocativo
In maniera parallela si è quindi formata una schiera impressionante
di pianisti devoti a questo riciclaggio, nella quale è veramente
arduo trovare (aldilà del fattore originalità) delle
dinamiche sonore che restino impresse nella nostra esperienza di ascoltatori:
sono pochi i pianisti che riescono a dare "peso" allo strumento,
scavando nelle sue profondità armoniche, nella capacità
di creare mirabili risonanze (anche di contrasto a tocchi di elettronica
estemporanea) e soprattutto nella capacità di creare soluzioni.
Tra coloro che hanno affrontato bene il problema vi rientra sicuramente
l'argentino Bruno Sanfilippo, un musicista anomalo per il piano se
preso in riferimento alla sua provenienza dal campo dell'elettronica
e dei synths: Sanfilippo, infatti, di fianco ad un interessamento
primario per l'elettronica di stampo ambientale e la musica concreta,
ha avuto il coraggio e la voglia di misurarsi sull'argomento, componendo
una triade di registrazioni come modulazioni di "textures"
al pianoforte (oggi i tre volumi sono racchiusi anche in un'unica
raccolta), alcuni con droni di accompagnamento, altri molto semplicemente
senza (come succede nel terzo episodio pubblicato qualche mese fa).
"Texture 3" è il voluto inganno reso nella terminologia
musicale per cui non si è di fronte a spinti modelli di complessità
strumentale, poichè esso vuole mostrare l'innalzamento del
livello "emotivo" delle costruzioni armoniche al piano:
si tratta di una ricerca "purissima" di soluzioni in cui
il quid deve passare da una efficacissima registrazione in cui tutte
le note e tutte le pause devono essere portate al massimo grado di
evidenziazione per rendere; se è vero che "Texture 3"
quindi risolve ampiamente il problema di ottemperare all'esigenza
di costruire qualcosa che sia di conforto generalizzato, è
anche vero che i suoi sforzi in tal senso si stanno canalizzando in
qualcosa che è estraneo alla pura generalizzazione, che possa
seguire il suo senso di approccio alla materia; ed in tal senso vi
invito ad ampliare l'ascolto delle tre "Textures" con un
altro paio di registrazioni che Bruno ha effettuato con netlabels:
mi riferisco a "Piano Texture Found" per Laverna in cui
sotto presunte spoglie di brani bozza si sente tutto il sentimento
potenziale dell'artista, e a i tre brani di "Impromptu"
pubblicati liberamente su Bandcamp; quella di Sanfilippo è
una visuale che timidamente si porta dentro i privilegi sviluppati
nella concreta allorchè si serve di elementi "naturali"
(il cinguettio degli uccelli sembra essere un leit-motiv piuttosto
frequente recentemente, specie se si pensa alle belle estremizzazioni
di "Bioma") o di infiltrazioni elettroniche da rumore bianco;
in questo modo, smussando gli echi convenzionali di piano e cello,
io penso che non passerà molto tempo che Bruno riuscirà
a tirar fuori il suo capolavoro nell'àmbito di questo moderno
pianismo con tante parentele neoclassiche. Con il cuore c'è
The third installment of "Piano Textures" has became a reality
during September 2012. I won't say anything new when describing Bruno
Sanfilippo, in Argentina born, but residing in Barcelona, Spain, as
one of the leading figures of the ambient movement in Europe. Released
not only as a solo digipak CD, but also as one third of elegantly
packaged "Piano Textures" Box Set along with digipak reissues
of previous two chapters, "Piano Textures 1" and "Piano
Textures 2". Looking for some nice collector's item? This might
be one of your choices for sure!!! Anyway, let's explore now the atmospheres
of "Piano Textures 3", which consists of 8 parts entitled
"Piano Textures". The album unfolds soothingly with minimal,
but expressive piano tune backed by captivating natural sounds of
bird calls or cow bells. It's no secret that Bruno Sanfilippo is enormously
gifted piano player, who studied at The Galvani Conservatory in Buenos
Aires with a degree in musical composition. And Bruno Sanfilippo truly
excels at his filigree piano playing!!! "Piano Textures 3 II"
is deeply intimate and evocative composition hazed by the clouds of
profound sadness and nostalgia. Deliberately serene and touching!!!
Warm piano ambience invade "Part III" and floats smoothly
through various passages, ranging from more melodious and illuminating
to more quiet and contemplative with strong cinematic feel, what a
beauty!!! "Part IV" blends euphorically swirling phases
with more intense, throughout saturated by distant natural sounds.
Beautifully sad "Part V" immerses deeply each listener with
its emotionally rich piano texture, weeping cello sounds and tranquil
ocean waves, at the end joined by child's voices. This composition
impresses utterly with its nostalgia, intimacy and warmness. Long
forgotten memories are awakening, another masterpiece!!! Beautifully
relaxing moods are all over the next piece, "Part VI", this
time restful and fragile piano is strongly flavored by myriad of forest
birds chirping and few kids voices and dog barks. When absorbed by
this composition, naturally colored "BIOMA" comes to my
mind. Towards the end few harsher scrapings à la "Urbs"
appear as well. And some of these sharper outbursts and low deep sounds
can be explored also on "Part VII", with sort of cacophonous
intro that is soon softened by euphorically shimmering and lush piano.
I like so much the interplay of harsher and velvety parts, it might
sound quite perplexing, but the overall feel remains always very sensitive
and poignant. Sparsely elegant and strikingly picturesque piano texture
of "Part VIII" is again carefully enriched by few nostalgic
cello sounds to complete this grand finale composition. Freely meandering
and dreamlike, absolutely gracious and gorgeous!!! "Piano Textures
3" is a lyrical performance at its most virtuoso!!! It's absolutely
thrilling to witness how Bruno Sanfilippo demonstrates his amazing
versatility within ambient genre, always marked with highly sophisticated
approach and equipped with massive potential. Just take into account,
for example, his last five releases, "Piano Textures 3",
(with Max Corbacho), "Subliminal
Pulse" and "CROMO"
(with Mathias Grassow). Without any doubt, he is one of the giants
in the genre, a composer of great artistry and talent, because otherwise
he wouldn't be able to reach this challenging and refined quality.
Bravissimo, Maestro, and muchas gracias for all your sonic pearls,
I am deeply honored to collect them!!!
Had a listener's only exposure to Bruno Sanfilippo come about through
hearing his recent Hypnos recording Urbs,
said listener would have identified him as an exceptionally refined
sound-sculptor working in the electro-acoustic ambient field. But
the classically trained Sanfilippo also issues minimalist piano recordings,
of which Piano Textures 3 is a particularly impressive example;
it's of course the third in a series (the first issued in 2007 and
the second 2009), which can be purchased separately or in a lavish
box set as a complete collection. It's a luscious album of many moodsmore
often than not melancholy, though not exclusively sothat finds
his reverberant piano playing augmented with electronic tinting and
outdoors field recordings (bird chirps, water sounds). During the
beautifully sad fifth, Sanfilippo adds chamber string textures as
complements to the lilting piano patterns. Sometimes such additions
aren't necessary, however, as the piano playing would captivate perfectly
well on its own without the accompanying sounds. The fourth setting
exudes a bright, dance-like air that's Debussy-like, while the seventh
pairs strums of the piano's inner strings with cascades that sparkle
like rainfall. Sanfilippo's shimmering piano sound suggests that he
might regard Harold Budd as a kindred spirit, even if the latter's
style (especially on his early ambient classics) is gauzier.
Though Sanfilippo's been recording music for more than two decades,
there's nothing jaded about the playing on Piano Textures 3, nothing
to suggest that it's merely one more release to add to an ever-growing
pile. Instead, Sanfilippo invests the eight untitled pieces with deep
feeling, and the listener is often taken aback by the elegance and
beauty of the material. There's some hint that the settings are largely
rooted in improvisation; if so, the recording impresses even more
because its harmonious pieces present themselves as formal compositions
of distinct melodic character rather than directionless musings.
Bruno Sanfilippo is a multi-talented artist, capable of crossing genre
borders with ease.
On his two latest releases, Urbs and Piano Textures 3, he shows two
very different compositional sidesand both are superb in their
I say, in all admiration, that this disc makes me want to pour a
glass of very good wine and sit in contemplation while it plays. Sanfilippo
offers up quiet and quite emotional ballads and the occasional neo-classical
foray, all carrying the feeling of a gentleman simply sitting down
at his piano and playing what he feels. His playing is crisp and clear,
and he again shows that he understands the potency of a pause, letting
notes ring down to quietness with no need to overfill the space. In
places the pauses feel as though Sanfilippo is thinking about the
next thing he wants to say, and the notes come only as he reaches
that point. This is a very personal disc, and you wont be able
to help but respond to the range of feelings Sanfilippo takes you
through. Although it clocks in at under an hour, the effect stays
with you long after. This is a gorgeous, must-hear release, particularly
for those who appreciate the clean sound of solo piano. Pick a wine,
put the disc on, and listen.
Peter Van Cooten · ambientblog.net
The title leaves no room for surprises. This album is all about piano,
and it's #3 in a series. (Those that want all of them may want to
check out the box set including all three).
Bruno Sanfilippo , originally from Buenos Aires, but now living in
Barcelona, is not exactly a newcomer in this musical area: he graduated
the conservatory of Buenos Aires with a degree in musical composition
(piano). This third part of Piano Textures follows the first two releases
with the same title (2007/2009), but together these three releases
are just a small part of his discography.
With the subtly added sound treatments, almost acting like a shadow
of the piano sound itself, softly flowing and elegant, these tracks
reminisce some of the best work of Harold Budd.
These eight compositions are all very melodious, never 'confronting',
yet they indeed present different 'textures'. Compare, for example,
tracks V, VI and VII: flowing from a new age-style cinematic theme
to the sounds of a prepared piano, via a beautifully minimalistic
(almost) one-chord composition with additional field recordings. To
conclude: it's a beauty!
I've listened to Bruno Sanfilippo for a long time now, and I've been
honored to be able to sit and listen to Piano Textures 3 for the last
month before release. Piano Textures 3 is lyrical and beautiful. Bruno
has such precision, control, and technical mastery of the piano that
he's able to focus solely and be one with the music.
The piano is truly an extension of him, his feelings, his thoughts.
He's not "trying" to convey feeling, the feeling flows naturally
from Bruno to the listener. Nothing is forced, all is where it should
be. Piano Textures 3 lives and breathes.
I highly recommend Bruno Sanfilippo's work. With Piano Textures 3
- he takes the next step in his musical evolution. I'm loving this
chapter, and can't wait for the next. John Koch-Northrup owner | artist | Relaxed Machinery - organic
ambient http://relaxedmachinery.com ...and a huge Bruno Sanfilippo
Bruno Sanfilippo ha estrenado hoy su nuevo álbum Piano Textures
3, tercero en la serie homónima de trabajos basados en piano
con el que confirma, una vez más, su excelente técnica
interpretativa y la belleza de sus composiciones.
Este nuevo trabajo de Sanfilippo reúne ocho exquisitas piezas
de increible fuerza y elegancia en las que combina minimalismo y lírica
en pasajes en los que el piano, sin ser el único instrumento
presente, es la voz principal de las hermosas narraciones que se nos
presentan en la obra.
Valedor de una gran expresividad frente a este instrumento, Bruno
consigue provocar en esta obra múltiples estados emotivos gracias
a sus sólidas melodías y sencillas atmósferas
para las que en ciertos momentos se ayuda, además, de grabaciones
de campo, efectos e instrumentación clásica.
En una línea similar a la de sus anteriores encarnaciones,
Piano Textures 3 es un trabajo magnífico, de una una enorme
calidad y belleza que, a mi juicio, queda incluso por encima de los
otros volúmenes de esta serie, lo cual ya era difícil.
Pienso que este trabajo será recordado como una de las obras
más significativas del autor argentino.