Argentinian composer Bruno Sanfilippo has been very prolific these last few years, with twenty-five solo releases since 2000. His main line of focus is the exploration and search for new and unique qualities in music, through a simplistic and minimalistic approach. Unity is his latest album, released on the Russian label Dronarivm on February 16, 2018. With a set of eight pieces for piano and strings, Unity addresses themes such as geometry and mysticism—all reflected in the artwork made by Dronarivm’s owner, Dmitry Taldykin,
Unity retains an aura of spirituality through each one of the subjects addressed in the album, which is immediately supported by the opening track, Spiral, a contemplative piece that reflects some of the early ambient music of the last quarter of the past century. The lullaby-like Lux—one of my favourite—is a gentle piece that combines a delicate piano accompaniment and emotional strings. Contemplation and spirituality are some of the primary themes of Unity and are very well illustrated in pieces such as Simple or Entity—one of the darkest pieces of the album—that bear a sensation of appeasement and reflection through cyclical piano writing and transcending strings. Sanfilippo seems to follow a particular musical architecture throughout the whole of the album, giving the foundation role to the piano and the melodic parts to the strings, as demonstrated in Oneness. Each piece in Unity seems to be addressing a particular concept or idea, mostly around geometric or mathematical ideas, such as the minimalistic One or the hypnotic and restful Cyclical. Unity, the title track and longest of the album, features an array of instruments that hints towards Indian and Eastern Asian music and surprises the listener by the late arrival of the piano, and its underuse. It is structurally—like most pieces of the album—based on repeated parts and looping patterns which puts the listener in a meditative state.
It is very easy to let oneself get lost in Sanfilippo’s music. Unity transports the listener in an abstract world, where shapes and patterns appear naturally. There is a very mathematical and geometrical approach—traditionally associated with minimalism—in this album, however the spiritual element adds an unique dimension and seems to anchor each piece into something more than simply music for the sake of it. Unity is a gate to Bruno Sanfilippo’s musical world, and only asks for additional discoveries and listenings.