2016 / 1631 Recordings
Review by Kathy Parsons
Another Past is the debut album from Italian pianist, composer, and sound engineer Roberto Attanasio. When Roberto emailed me about reviewing his album, I thought his introductory comments were excellent: “Years ago I had a very old piano in my garage, so I composed an album of ten tracks recording it. I love the sound of old pianos, in fact I put a microphone near the keyboard and another one near the felt damper with the objective to take every mechanical sound. These compositions are not only notes but also noises and breaths for the creation of an original and felt sound.” The closest comparison I can make to the sound of the piano is the effect Chad Lawson gets with his muted strings and mic placement, but it’s not the same, just similar. Attanasio’s beautiful music takes on a haunting, ethereal quality and the more upbeat pieces have a “built-in” percussion effect. I have heard one piece Attanasio recorded for a video on a “normal” piano, and it is also incredibly beautiful, but the music on Another Past is unique with the use of this old piano and its own story to tell. I really like all of the music on this album and expect that it will be on my list of Favorite Albums for 2016.
Another Past begins with the delicate “Tiny Dancer,” which incorporates the sound of each key being depressed, the light clicking when wood meets wood, and various other squeaks and creaks. The melody of the piece is simple and beautifully blends the other sounds as part of the music. “Shade” is even more delicate, and the after-ring of the strings creates a very cool and serene atmosphere. I love the dark, mysterious quality of “An Innocent Obsession.” Ranging from the upper registers of the piano to the deep bass strings, it carries a strong emotional impact. “Brave” is another favorite. Sometimes melodic and sometimes more ambient, it paints a moody picture in shades of gray and black. “Useless Absence” is my favorite piece. A bit more energetic and rhythmic than the others, I really love the feel and sound, from the sparkling treble notes to the warm rumble of the deep bass - plus the percussive mechanical sounds. “Forgotten Children” is heartbreaking. It’s a little hard to understand how much emotion Attanasio can evoke from this instrument until you hear it. “S.A.D.” is the closing track, and is rather different from the others because it is so ambient, expressing deep emotion with so few notes. By relying on the unique sounds of this piano and the composer’s own breathing, Attanasio powerfully communicates with sounds rather than words.
I’m very excited about Another Past and discovering the music of Roberto Attanasio - a true artist! The album is available on Amazon and iTunes. Very highly recommended!
May 8, 2016