The beauty of being a composer of many instruments is that you can have a wide palette at your disposal and Stefano Guzzetti is a perfect example of someone who enjoys flexing his creative muscles alongside his melodic ones. “Escape” is a string drenched album that is able to convey a lot in under just under 40 minutes but it is an audio escape I recommend.
“Leaving” is euphoric and uplifting. From the percussive opening to the full layered string arrangement by the end, you’ll be swept up in something that could easily score a sci-fi film’s launch sequence. The melodies aren’t huge and complex, but they flow perfectly when each layer is added and that’s the secret to Guzzetti’s success throughout the album. “Watermusic” is like the musical equivalent of watching a blue whale majestically glide underwater as its simple piano underscore lets long, drawn string strokes float peacefully from ear to ear. The flute and the echoed effects are great touches and add a great scale to things. “Hope” meanwhile kicks off with a heartbeat that speeds up to a cute skipping beat that allows the mild electronica side of Stefano break out for a disco string arrangement. I always appreciate it when two sides of music collide in an unusual fashion and this works really well as it lacks bass and is focused on the emotional delivery of the piece. “Understars” is a companion piece for Hope but more focused on keyboards than strings for the most part.
“Adrift” resets the tone to something more sombre with Bjork-vespertine like percussion, which has been flirted with throughout, really hitting home here. The kicker is the prepared piano joining in for the final third of the track as it gives an evil HAL style to proceedings and is possibly my favourite track from the album. “Undine” is just as beautiful though. It’s rolling piano arpeggios are divine and slightly distorted as other instruments come in to back up the drama. I immediately think of the Gravity and Oblivion soundtracks although it’s only similar in tone and arrangement. The tracks themselves were actually composed for a ballet and I can completely see the correlation with all the skipping beats and piano flurries. One of the more straight to strings piece is “Descent” which is thick and full of emotion and we leave the album with “Acceptance” which is a heartfelt but positive affirmation of piano and strings. The piano specifically here is programmed and played like church bells for me and so with the keys ringing out as they slide down the chords, and the strings being deliberately slow – it has a majestic ending to bow out too.
Escape has purpose. Each track is fully rounded and standalone unlike many soundtrack-like experiences and whilst made for ballet, this is the kind of music sci-fi movies are crying out for. Give this man a film score – I’d love to see what he does. If you missed this album at the back-end of 2016, make sure it’s one of your early 2017 purchases.
Recommended Track : Adrift