Pianist and composer Bruno Sanfilippo’s latest album Unity see’s him moving away from his abstract, often piano only compositions towards something much more ambient and soundscape-like. It’s a welcome move that adds a different layer of paint and density to his minimalist arrangements. Unity is all about an album of moments and they are a beauty to behold.
“Spiral” is the first track and I’d describe it as Blue Planet David Attenborough cinemusic with a hint of space sci-fi. It’s delicate keyboard pads sway gently whilst a distant female voice echoes and calls. It’s a track calling out for a movie placement, as do most pieces. “Lux” continues the central echoing voice as an instrument throughline with uplifting high register piano and accompanying strings. The track pairs perfectly with “Simple” which uses the same palette of instruments to make for a playful motif that slowly becomes sombre despite being the same melody over its duration – a clever feat. “Oneness” is more refined and homely. The whole track has a warmth to it, and a slow tick-tocking pace that encourages you to slow down and pause. “One” and “Entity” also come as a pairing for me as they the more melancholy tracks of the album. The latter in particular makes use of reversed piano keys as part of a limping waltz and has an old gramophone production style that makes it feel quite timeless. “Cyclical” is brighter – almost new age in the way how it uses the space between chords and notes to echo them out. I feel like the track itself is a passing cloud and each note is a droplet of rain with the space between the note and the echo the fall from the sky. It sounds really poetic and a bit arty-farty but the track oozes that kind of feeling because of its confidence to use reverb so elegantly. “Unity” closes the album with a giant 11-minute piece. It has a brass and wind chug to it that reminds me a little of Philip Glass in places but the piece itself is very laid back, relaxed and more of a mood piece than a motif that catches your imagination immediately.
Bruno Sanfilippo’s minimal and abstract arrangements will never be for everyone – you have to want to be in the mood for an almost drone-esque modern classical tone. I really like how Unity has more of a rounded focus on different sounds and there are some peaceful moments of calm that will be great for bath time. Others should try before buying with some samples to ensure there’s enough going on to keep you interested.
Recommended track: Cyclical
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