Bruno Sanfilippo "Urbs" CD
Field recordings are the key elements of "Urbs" and "BIOMA", the last two albums of Bruno Sanfilippo (on "BIOMA" he was joined by his fellow soundscaper, Max Corbacho). While on "BIOMA" documenting the life of a nature, on "Urbs" Bruno has decided to focus on everyday's life of a city, when collecting location recordings from various European metropoles plus New York by mapping surrounding environments like train or subway stations, streets, bars, churches... This brand new album, Bruno's 16th when counting also his collaborations with Mathias Grassow or above mentioned Max Corbacho, is not only his premiere work for renowned Hypnos label, but also a quite radical departure from all his previous works that are spanning from rather ambient/new age oriented, through deeper organic or cinematic ambience to modern classical influenced. Bruno Sanfilippo is now venturing with "Urbs" into more minimal soundscaping with gently portrayed pulsing life of the city. To be honest, without knowing the name of the artist who is behind "Urbs", I would never connect it to Bruno Sanfilippo. But don't be afraid, because this chameleonic change is not only totally adventurous, but also proving the unlimited creativity and considerable talent of this sound architect (born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but residing in Barcelona, Spain).
"Urban Flow" is perfectly chosen name for opening piece, with dominating colder on-site recordings of various rumblings, noises, buzzes, creaks or squeaks, all wrapped by hazed nocturnal atmosphere and masterfully merged with deeply evocative drones and assorted mesmerizingly or mysteriously emerging voice and choir samples. Wow, this is absolutely phenomenal, nearly 15-minute intro!!! Grandioso & mágico, Bruno!!! Voice transmissions unfold the next piece, "The City Reflected", clocking over 20 minutes. Deep, nearly ear-bending echoes, various rumblings, mysteriously odd voices enter the stage as well, everything harmoniously crafted and bridged, and superbly evoking a place similar to some underground lively corridor. Cascading sonic palette is minimal, but intense and maximally effective. "Chaotic Order", a 25 and half minutes long opus reveals with deeper drones, again enriched by distant conversations and various street rumblings, serenely drifting before entering during the second third into slightly more active areas with glitchy and hissy elements invading. The last third returns to more mysterious and droning course with assorted noises, breathings and voices on the back. Definitely another deeply absorbing masterpiece!!! The closing piece, 7-minute "The Gray Umbrella", is colored by various voice recordings, possibly the most textured sonic escapade slowly moving towards the end into minimal and quieter, nearly meditative outro.
"Urbs" is stirringly challenging and refreshing, carefully sculpted and fused into amazingly homogeneous structure, with strong attention paid to every detail. This album delivers enormous amount of spectacular listening moments and transports each listener into magnificently immersing urban environments. Bravo to Bruno Sanfilippo, bravo to Hypnos!!!
Richard Gürtler (May 27, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)
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