Born in Buenos Aires but based in Barcelona since the year 2000, Bruno Sanfilippo is a classically trained pianist and composer whose music lies at the confluence of the modern classical, electro acoustic and ambient genres. Initially launched in 2007 and assimilating diverse influences gathered over the years, Bruno Sanfilippo’s Piano Textures series has slowly turned into a superb never-ending project which the pianist keeps coming back to. Released on his own ad21 music label on 2 December 2016 last, Piano Textures 4 is the fourth instalment of the series.

runo Sanfilippo - Piano Textures 4 (2016)
Bruno Sanfilippo – Piano Textures 4 (2016)

Equally influenced by 20th century classical impressionists like Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, the early ambient compositions of Erik Satie and by several contemporary ambient and modern classical composers (Max Richter, Arvo Pärt, Jóhann Jóhannsson or Sylvain Chauveau amongst many others), Bruno Sanfilippo is sound artist whose music often depicts stillness or an imperceptible movement within a defined frame where the light is faint or hazy.

In many cases, listening to Bruno Sanfilippo is tantamount to watching an animated canvas. The visuals for the third track from his first Piano Textures album for instance consists of a single shot video of a simple beach scene at dusk with the moving shadows of children playing in slow motion – a defining visual signature for the series.

Collaborations in the past with German drone ambient musician Mathias Grassow (Ambessence – 2008; Cromo – 2010), with various electronic artists (Upon Contact Reworked – 2015) and his recent addition of cello and violin on ClarOscuro (2014), Inside Life (2015) or The Poet (2016) all feed into the creative palette of the pianist.

If the core essence of Bruno Sanfilippo’s music revolves around solo piano, the Piano Textures project is a haunting immersion into the sonic possibilities of the grand piano from an electro-acoustic point of view. And as is the case with every Piano Textures release, none of the tracks are named and Roman numerals remain the only reference for the listener.

Underpinned by field recordings, sampled loops, dreamy reverberation or high-pitched drones, a clear dramatic tension slowly builds up over the first five tracks of Piano Textures 4 only to be released with the gorgeous VI.

Shifting from prepared piano techniques with the musician strumming the strings on I or muted effects on V to the grandiose and cinematic on VIII, many compositions follow a simple and meandering melodic progression. Always understated and soothing, Piano Textures 4 pursues Bruno Sanfilippo’s meditative and atmospheric search for the perfect melodic, rhythmic and harmonic combination on the piano.

My dearest instrument is obviously the piano, its mechanics and possibilities are truly extraordinary. You can connect the piano with Chopin or Scriabin, but I like to think that the piano is an instrument of the future. Bruno Sanfilippo