Federico Squassabia is an Italian improviser, composer and pianist. His work is very diverse, ranging from jazz and improvised music to children’s music, amongst many others. It is under the name of Friedrich, that the artist releases his most poetic works, through pieces for solo piano. His first release, Sea Songs, with the Italian label Blue Spiral Records, is full of images and mystery.
Indeed, there seems to be a particular universe around Friedrich and his music — and very little can be found about him. The composer approaches much of his art through poetry, images, contrasts, evocations and of course, mystery.
It reflects in some of the lexicon of Sea Songs; “Pumpkins and Hills” is a simple ballad, that nevertheless carries the imaginary built around the composer, and allows the listener to discover the meaning of the piece on his own.
The musical content is not diminished by this particular approach, and whether it is with “The Exit”, that starts with an motif in motion— as if caught in the middle of the piece — or “The Crystal”, a sweet melodic ballad — it is with “I Morning” the most well-built and balanced piece of the album — contrasted by “Blue Clouds”, a rhythmically interesting piece, driven by a triplet feel which alternates with flat vaporous chords.
I also could not help but relate to Gonzales’ music upon hearing “Children Light”; a lot more serene and intense than the Canadian composer’s pieces, it nevertheless carries a similar sense of spontaneity.
It is truly by grasping the poetical descriptions of the works, the open explanations and vague statements that one enjoys Friedrich’s Sea Songs.
There is a wish to remain secret and create a mystery around the music and the artist. “Born in the mists, where the outlines are never defined. The only hill, far away, is the moon. The breath of the river that becomes and shapes, that drags sounds, perhaps that was the first approach to music. Then it was a crescendo of white and black vortices. Travel and Faces, Piano and Forte. In constant listening and research, it sees no boundaries.” These are the lines that Friedrich surrounds his music with, and this imaginary is carried out throughout Sea Songs. It is an interesting first solo release that introduces the unique universe and enjoyable pieces.