Gianluca Piacenza is an Italian Sound Designer, Composer and Pianist. “The Road To Home” is his debut full length album.
“Gianluca Piacenza is an italian composer, pianist and sound designer. After 2 year of private piano lessons when he was 6 years old, he began studying music at his hometown conservatory graduating with full marks in Classical Piano and Composition. Today he works as music producer at Red Couch Studio, an inspirational space in which analog and digital equipment, acoustic and electronic instruments are equally important to develop a unique sonic signature.
“Dark Light” this track has a muted tone to it. The sound is quiet and reflective and gives the impression that it was recorded and played at low volume (according to notes on his website the album was recorded at night by himself). The music has a carried sound with hints of richness peaking through controlled playing. The tempo of the piece as well as the sound gives it a narrative feel. The recording is one of natural piano with all the movements and creeks includes which gives it an authentic, not sterile sound. At nine minutes it moves through many movements with a cinematic touch throughout.
“Momentum” is the flipside to the opener being only 59 seconds in length. Sounding distant and full of reverberation, this vignette in a way acts like an intro for the next track which shares a similar piano sound.
“A Unified Voice” there is a hope filled and romantic feeling to this pieces opener. The piano sounds positively and expressively optimistic with the playng being light and playful. You get the feeling that Piacenza was in good spirits in the composition and recording of this particular piece. My only quibble would be that on this piece is that the natural recording of the piano tends to overshadow the actual sounds the piano creates.
“Angels” is the only track features extra orchestration – in this case a string quartet, which helps to elevate the music. Not being overly jubilant, nor melancholic, the music is inward looking and feels personal. The pace is relaxed, but not slow. The strings compliment the piano and also add an extra dimension to the music which allows it to soar.
“Shades of my Life” is the epic piece of the album at around twelve and a half minutes in length. The tone is less muted than other pieces, but this almost muddiness is what draws the listener in. The piece, indeed the whole album would have a different feel to it entirely if the recording technique was different and the tone of the piano was, say vibrant or stark. Piacenza takes the listener on a sonic journey through twists and turns, sometimes returning to familiar territory, before escorting us elsewhere.
“I will never Forget” music from a misty past. All the creaks and noises of the piano on this occasion accentuates the feel of the piece. Musically sounding like a memory, the tone is coated in fog, but a bright and melodic sound can be heard underneath, which carries the mood of the piece. According to his website the origin of these pieces was improvisations and you can somewhat feel it in this track.
“Conversations with Myself” if piano is an introspective instrument, a track titled such as this is self explanatory. If Piacenza is indeed talking to himself, you feel it us with a heavy heart or the thought is “It’s not your fault”. The music returns from its journeys to a familiar style which exudes the introspection of the title. The music occasionally flourishes in a hopeful way, but its this inwardness that is most noted.
“Childlike Innocence” feeling like a progression of the previous track, “Childlike Innocence” has hopeful motifs that bring in light and a playful feeling. The pace is maintained and forever moving in a positive direction. You get the feeling of Piacenza at his upright Petrof full of confidence with a certain glee in his playing.
“Far Away” the improvised feeling returns. This piece is quite minimal in its playing with silence between notes being utilized. The sparse feeling is new territory for the album, it’s almost as if something has gone on a long winding journey and the place and the silences accentuating a random and distant trip.
“Unsaid Truth” the epic of the album uses the bass notes to create a more ambient effect than a traditional modern classical feel. The track opens with alternating notes before building on them. There is a slight rollicking feeling to the music. With this piece you get the feeling that the prime goal is to create tension in the music and then explore it. Cinematic in ways, Piacenza is in no rush to push the music on instead he lets each note unfurl until it is time to start propelling and embellishing the track. Towards end he returns to a more controlled and gentle playing.
“Midnight Walk” was released on Soundcloud earlier in the year for piano day and included on Nils Frahm’s Official Piano Day playlist. The keys have an echoing quality that makes the sounds ripple out with a muted ambience. The music because of the nature of the recording process has this feeling of being held in close and somewhat smothered. Such a felling lends an intimacy to the music and also a bit of a mystique. A nice way to end the album.
Piacenza proudly states on his website that “I love imperfections, you will not find here the sterile and lifeless piano sound of so many modern digital recordings, but a world full of sounds and noises, wood and mechanical interactions, pedal creaks and fingers tapping keys, breathes, slightyly detunes notes, all captured on pristine analogue gear, printed to tape and then converted to digital as the last step.”
This is apparent throughout the album and lends it its own particular character and feel. Piacenza is part of these artists that want to bring back what I guess could be perceived as real piano music. If this sounds right for, then you will enjoy “The Road to Home”.