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Album Review: Islands
Friedrich and Blue Spiral Records
Cover image of the album Islands by Friedrich and Blue Spiral Records
Friedrich and Blue Spiral Records
2021 / Blue Spiral Records
16 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Islands is a seven-piece solo piano EP by Italian pianist/composer Friedrich (also known as Federico Squassabia) and is his second album on the Blue Spiral Records label. Each of the seven tracks is an expressive vignette and each has a playing time of just over 2 1/2 minutes or shorter. In less-capable hands, that brevity could result in an album that feels rushed and choppy, but this album is gorgeous. Each piece is perfect in length, getting its message across clearly and succinctly while combining with the other pieces on the album to create a rich and satisfying listening experience. The pace is mostly slow and relaxed, expressing a variety of emotions and experiences, and warming your soul in the process.

Islands begins with "A Little Break," a piece that feels like those moments when you are able to breathe deeply and regain your focus. "Her Tree" is even more peaceful and reflective - open and uncluttered, but profoundly expressive. "Stay At the Window" reminds me of times when you become mesmerized while staring out the window - a quiet daydream set to music. "White Days" is my favorite piece on the album. Its lively swirling motion is light yet purposeful, gradually slowing at the end. "Anarconirico" is quietly pensive and dreamy and drifts off at the end. "Drops" has a gently percussive feeling that makes me think of quiet rain showers (not a downpour!). "Liquid Fracture" brings this excellent album to a close with warmth and a feeling of openness.

Friedrich certainly understands the concept of "less is more" and applies it to the music on Islands without sacrificing expression or emotion. The EP is available from Blue Spiral Records, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites like Spotify. It's a beauty!
April 21, 2021