Bruno Sanfilippo: Upon Contact Reworked

It's not unusual for an artist to release a remix set or equivalent as a way of tiding listeners over from one full-length to another, and it's in that spirit that Bruno Sanfilippo follows his recent Inside Life album with Upon Contact Reworked, a collaborative collection that sees a piano-based setting by the composer re-interpreted by well-respected figures from the electronic scene. On this thirty-seven-minute release, Francesco Giannico, Olan Mill, Leonardo Rosado, Jorge Haro, Quivion, and Hior Chronik all take individual stabs at Sanfilippo's original.

The lead-off track is, naturally, “Upon Contact,” a prototypical Sanfilippo work of graceful character that resembles a slightly less gauzy Harold Budd recording. Sanfilippo exercises his customary restraint in adding little more to the piece's minimal piano chords than heavy doses of reverb. That “Upon Contact” is so minimal in design proves to be a positive for the contributors as it allows them ample room to impose their own respective stamps upon it.

Giannico includes strings to amp up the original's dramatic quality, though the most dominant additions are field recordings of robust human activity. Olan Mill and Hior Chronik offer delicate treatments that artfully recast the original as electronically tinted tapestries of varying colours, while the bold electronic re-imaginings by Rosado, Haro, and Quivion augment Sanfilippo's piano notes with clusters of stuttering ripples, sonar blips, and combustion. While each version is different, the serene ambiance of the original resounds within each as a connecting thread.

Yes, Upon Contact Reworked is a stopgap of sorts designed to ease the transition from Inside Life to Sanfilippo's next full-length, but it's no less satisfying a collection for being so. At the very least, it's fascinating to hear the different ways by which the contributors deconstruct and re-create the composer's original.

July-August 2015