Bruno Sanfilippo: Lost & Found

The five settings on Bruno Sanfilippo's latest ambient piano collection were for the most part “lost” before being re-assimilated for the thirty-six-minute release, yet they're a cohesive bunch for all that. Though they originally appeared in different places (the EP Piano Texture Found, for instance, issued on the Italian label Laverna in 2012) and at different times (included one issued as long ago as 2006 and the most recent in 2015), they're nevertheless united by the sensibility Sanfilippo brings to all of his productions.

Even if the material doesn't add anything radically new to the established Sanfilippo template, that doesn't make Lost & Found any less satisfying a listen. Each of these ethereal settings exemplifies his sensitive handling of atmosphere and mood, as well as his gift for producing elegant piano performances enhanced by supplemental detail. During “Peter,” for example, sounds of children playing emerge alongside a wistful series of largely unadulterated piano reflections; in the 2006 setting “InTROpiano,” by comparison, the instrument reverberates so boldly, Sanfilippo's playing billows like a rapidly expanding cloud mass; there are moments when the piano seems on the verge of being buried under the reverberations, the effect so pronounced one imagines he might have recorded the piece in an echo chamber. Similar to “InTROpiano,” “Piano Texture Found” smears the acoustic instrument with thick strokes of hiss and fuzz though not so much that the shimmering piano patterns are rendered inaudible.

With Sanfilippo operating within an ambient piano environment, there understandably are moments where the material suggests commonalities with Harold Budd's work, especially the early recordings involving Eno. That's never more evident than during “Solitario,” where for almost a dozen minutes Sanfilippo ruminates thoughtfully, his reflections accompanied by real-world sounds of footsteps and rustling noises of varying kinds. Having been exhumed from the hard drive of a studio recorder computer, the bonus track, “What I Dreamed,” never previously appeared but nevertheless fits comfortably alongside the others on this mini-album-like sampling of the Italian instrumentalist's artistry.

November 2017