Fabrizio Paterlini
Autumn Stories
As another week comes to a close I find myself gravitating towards virtue, simplicity and beauty that could be only found in piano music. One of the composers who continues to make an appearance on my rotations, is Mantova based (northern Italy) Fabrizio Paterlini. His piano pieces have enchanted me since his 2010 Fragments Found, which subsequently earned a spot on Headphone Commute’s Best of the Year list, Music For Watching The Snow Slowly Fall In The Moonlight. The album was later repackaged and re-released together with Paterlini’s 2009 release, Viandanze, as a double disk set. In late September of 2011, Paterlini decided to celebrate the autumn season by writing a piece per week and then share it online with his followers. The project went on for 14 weeks, allowing Paterlini to explore the moods inspired by the season’s images and sounds. The resulting compositions have been collected in Autumn Stories, resulting in a wonderful album, full of honesty, harmony and soul. Paterlini’s delicate piano vignettes are accompanied with strings by Lotus Quartet, capturing music full of solemn melancholy, mournful sadness and longing heartache. “Making melancholic music makes me feel better”, says Paterlini. It makes us feel better too, Fabrizio… so keep it coming! Highly recommended for fans of Dustin O’Halloran, Nils Frahm, Goldmund, Library Tapes and Max Richter.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
Playing The Piano 2009 _out of noise
During the week of April 23rd, the great Ruichi Sakamoto graced New York city with a week-long set of performances by himself and his friends, including John Zorn, Mayo Yamagachi, Aya Nishina, Otomo Yoshihide and others. I managed to attend two: his solo performance, and a collaboration with Taylor Deupree! Both of the experiences were amazing enough to warrant a dedicated review, so more on that later. Back at the merchandise table of the venue, I was able to snag a limited edition boxset of Sakamoto’s Playing The Piano 2009 _Out of Noise, which included two tour book CDs. I thought that perhaps this would be another edition of his famous Playing The Piano and Out Of Noise albums, but I assure you, it is not. Disc one, for example, features tracks like “Tango”, “Koko”  and “Sweet Revenge”. Disc two opens with “Tamago” and concludes with “Put Your Hands Up” – pieces that do not appear on the US edition of the above mentioned albums. This box set also includes six booklets, featuring interviews, photos,  data sheet, and even ads from the tour! I really want to tell you more about this gem, but since I can’t help you buy it, I feel that all I’d be doing is teasing you with my treasure… Oh, and the music? Of course, it’s amazing! Sakamoto at its best! See if you can get your hands on his Playing The Piano as well as Out Of Noise releases for a taste of this live performance.

Cam Butler
Save My Soul
If I didn’t have the press release accompanying this album, I would have thought that Cam Butler‘s Save My Soul is a soundtrack to a film. Indeed, its cinematic quality evokes similarities to scores by Alexandre Desplat, Zbigniew Preisner, and even John Williams. I am particularly reminded of Ang Lee‘s 2007 film, Lust, Caution (based on 1979 novella by Eileen Chang). Butler’s acoustic and electric guitars seamlessly fit among the full symphonic orchestra, with a 23-piece string section, harp, and drums. “Rather than relying on fx, Cam uses plectrums, his fingers, found objects, brushes, capos and tunings to fashion his soulful, 21st century guitar music.” The melodies on Save My Soul float in quasi modal, pentatonic scale, while the rhythm strolls forward in a light and somewhat jazzy fashion. Save My Soul is actually subtitled as Symphony No. 3, and is released as a follow-up to Butler’s 2008, Dark Times; the five pieces may be thought of as movements, as they retain an echoed theme throughout the album. For the live performance of the score, Butler selected five film makers (including himself) to create the visuals set to the music. These video installations are part of his tour, which is scheduled to continue throughout his home country of Australia, and launch internationally by 2013. The five films are available for preview on cambutler.com. A particularly striking film by Jake Simkin features images of human condition from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Franz Kirmann & Tom Hodge
Piano Interrupted
As I dig through my old emails in search of an fitting album for a unifying theme of piano and modern classical releases covered in this Sound Bytes entry, I realize that I completely forgot to mention a beautiful EP by Franz Kirmann & Tom Hodge, titled Piano Interrupted. The good news is that it sounds just as good as when I first heard it about a year ago. So once again I’d like to celebrate the fact that music doesn’t age! And it’s just as well that I get to the EP right about now, because I’m in dire need of some glitchy piano music. Piano Interrupted is a collaborative project between Tom Hodge, a London based modern classical and film score composer, and Franz Kirmann, a British electronic producer. For the consecutively titled four track EP, Hodge’s piano pieces have been processed and glitched out with Kirmann’s finger on the trigger, creating compositions reminiscent of work by Nils Frahm & Anne Müller, Ametsub, Francesco Tristano, Aria Rostami, and Leah Kardos. The DSP jitter is applied with some restrain, allowing the piano to sing through the shattered percussion rhythms. The only downside to the release is that it’s under fifteen minutes in length, and I really want more! With that thought in mind I migrate over to Tom Hodge’s orchestral arrangements for his Super Collider EP, featuring Hodge back on the piano accompanied by a string quintet, a vibraphone, glockenspiel and some sparse electronics. Recommended for the above mentioned artists!