2019 / Silent Beat Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Spettro (Italian for “spectrum”) is Milana Zilnik’s second ambient piano release for 2019 and her first album on the German record label, Silent Beat Records. I have been reviewing Milana’s music since 2013 and the two constants in her music are very high-quality recordings and taking her music in new directions. Her earlier release this year, Notte (Italian for “night”) is a series of piano improvisations titled for each of the twelve hours between dawn and dusk. Spettro is a series of fifteen piano solos, each given the Italian name for its designated color. The first seven tracks are the colors of the rainbow and the remaining eight round out the spectrum with mostly earthier tones.
The piano sound on Spettro is slightly muted yet some of the notes have a beautiful brightness that sometimes sparkles and is sometimes more luminous. Milana told me that the sound is “Noire” from Native Instruments - the same as on Notte, but a “non-felt” version that doesn’t include the sound of the internal workings of the piano or additional atmospheric effects. I love Notte, but Spettro is something very special - magical yet very serene and peaceful. I am a big fan of Milana’s music, but I do believe this is my favorite album of hers (so far). Six singles from the album have been released individually.
Spettro begins with “Rosso” (Red), a color that is often associated with being bold and passionate. Milana’s red has a relaxed, steady rhythm on the left hand and a gently meandering melody on the right, which imbues it with a soothing warmth. “Arancione” (Orange) is more fluid and ambient. It is played mostly in the upper half of the piano keyboard, giving it sparkle without becoming too bright. “Giallo” (Yellow) has a free-flowing melodic line that is supported by quiet rolling broken chords - very warm and cozy. Appropriately, “Verde” (Green) is cooler and more still. It would be the perfect accompaniment to time-lapse photography of leaves opening in the spring or new plants breaking through the soil - very fresh and expressive. “Blu” (Blue) has an easy ebb-and-flow like the bodies of water that are this color (or should be!) - a favorite! For me, “Indaco” (Indigo) feels like late at night when everything is still and dark. “Violetto” (Violet) is my favorite color, and the piece bearing its name is expansive and welcoming, passionate yet soft-spoken. “Rosa” (Pink) reflects a delicate softness and playfulness - also a favorite. “Bruno” (Brown) reminds me in spots of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” with rolling broken chords on the left hand and a spare but emotional melody on the right. Poignant and evocative, this is my favorite track on the album. I also really like the graceful and subdued “Grigio” (Gray), which feels a bit like walking in dense fog where everything is reduced to soft shapes with no real definition. Not surprisingly, “Nero” (Black) is dark, a little mysterious and stunningly beautiful. “Bianca” (White) completes the spectrum with a quiet purity and stillness.
What an amazing album! Milana Zilnik (and her husband, Artyom Tchebotaryov) have created another masterpiece with Spettro. The album is available on Amazon, iTunes/Apple Music and many streaming sites.
December 6, 2019
with Stephan Beneking