Andrea Carri: Chronos
Though he's only twenty-four, Italian pianist and composer Andrea Carri already has four studio albums to his credit: 2010's Partire, 2012's Stanze Segrete, 2013's Metamorfosi, and now Chronos, his debut release on the Irish label Psychonavigation. The fifty-minute album's theme obviously concerns that familiar enigma time—how we find ourselves situated within it and make connections to the past and future from the vantage point of the present—, but from the listener's standpoint the theme is less germane than the release's eleven classical-styled settings, which constitute a pretty lot indeed. Some of the pieces are solo piano pieces; others see Carri joined by violinist Carla Chiussi, cellist Emanuele Milani, electric guitarist Roberto Porpora, synth player Francesco Mantovani, and lap steel player Perry Frank.
Carri's music is easy to embrace, given the emphasis he places on melody and emotion, something representative pieces such as “Time Flies,” “Oggetti Dimenticati,” and “La Via Delle Sette Torri” make clear in their graceful, melancholy weaves. Bolstering his music's appeal is the fact that it's often delicate, its tempos generally slow, and its moods alternately dramatic and reflective. It's easy to picture an audience caught up in a collective hush during a live presentation of Carri's playing.
In stark contrast to the stripped-down nature of the solo piano settings, “Past” augments the keyboard with grandiose synthesizer washes, and “Present” downplays piano for a colourful arrangement of guitar, synthesizers, and atmospheric ambient treatments. In addition, Chiussi contributes an especially affecting solo to “Future,” while Chiussi's joined by Milani on the chamber trio-styled “Music is Eternity.” But even when the arrangement is beefed up with other elements, Carri's playing never loses its elegant restraint. Though he could no doubt dazzle the listener if he chose, he eschews grandstanding throughout and always puts technique in service to the composition at hand.
It's interesting that among the names Carri lists as musical influences those of Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Coldplay, and Adele appear. Perhaps the strong emphasis on melody in Carri's music can be traced in part to his affection for the music of such artists. Finally, despite some modern instrumentation touches, Chronos might seem to be somewhat of an old-fashioned recording in its emphasis on acoustic instruments. But music of high quality is never out of fashion, and of that Chronos certainly boasts more than its share.