One imagines there is no shaking hands with Neapolitan composer Bruno Bavota, just hugs the kind of which shatter pretension and forge a lasting human connection. It is a sense that comes across in his music which is characterized by utterly disarming sincerity and an outpouring of pure unguarded emotion that touches every note of every song. Out of the Blue is everything we have come to expect from Bruno, but with greater depth, resonance, and luster than ever before.
The songs themselves are like short stories, sketches, and scenes. Some seek to capture a pure and simple feeling (“Heartbeat”, “Warm Embrace”) or a moment in time (“Lovers”, “Snow”). Others recreate an image or sense of place such as “Marea” which emulates the rhythms of the tide or “Dusk in the East”, Bavota’s musical memory of evenings touring in Eastern Europe and Japan. There is symbolism in the exquisitely layered “Passengers” and “Mr. Rail” which references a literary character created by Alessandro Barrico who is always traveling without a destination. Especially affecting is “Breath”, a re-recording of one Bavota’s earliest compositions with a rich new sonority and effulgent strings that go straight to the heart. Musically sophisticated, but emotionally direct, Out of the Blue is a truly lovely and very human record. Let it give you a big hug.
Out of the Blue, the new album of Neapolitan neoclassical composer and multi-instrumentalist Bruno Bavota, is not only a logical extension of what the Italian musician recorded in the past, the album contains a strong selection of neoclassical melodies that have convinced us from the first spin. The album contains 13 tracks and as a result of the smooth pace, the listener is never distracted. Out of the Blue shows us an artist in top form.
The repetitive piano in the title track Out of the Blue leads us slowly into the world of Bruno Bavota. Backed by a silky cello (Michael Nicolas), the track turns into a nice classic ballad. Very beautiful and actually too short. Imagine the outline of a mountain range, Bruno Bavota suggests in the accompanying press release of Mountains, in which the piano is accompanied by electronics: a highly visual track as a translation of the superhuman grandeur of his subject. Marea (Tide) is as ebb and flow, topped with a simple but beautiful melody, tingling and cheerful. The combination of guitar and piano sounds great in Heartbeat: a fairly repetitive and gentle track.
Mr. Rail is a character from a novel by the Italian author Alessandro Baricco about a man who is always traveling, but without a specific destination. Bruno Bavota recreates the character in a short and intense composition. We are all travellers, it sounds in the press release of Passengers, in which the piano rolls out of the speakers in large gusts, and an unexpected encounter not necessarily leads to warm human contact. The opposite happens in Lovers, in which the piano and a stringed instrument start an attractive dialogue. Warm Embrace is a composition for acoustic guitar and piano, with the careful violin sound of J Freivogel in the background: the repetitive pattern is like a sequence of sincere caresses, while Dusk in the East goes back to Bavota's fascination for this phenomenon in Eastern Europe and Japan, where it is so very different from the dusk in his hometown.
Something you can chase, it's not so far, Bruno Bavota writes of Horizon, a beautiful atmospheric track in which two piano melodies are fighting for supremacy, but the dark eventually draws the longest straw. Breath is an older composition that is given a new approach and a new sound. The piano is accompanied by violin and cello, and the overall sound is exciting but never bombastic. Snow closes the album with falling snowflakes, followed by a musing piano for the resulting white carpet.
Very beautiful, this new album by Bruno Bavota. A series of tracks full of emotion and love, performed in a stunning way and a valuable addition to his catalog.
Fluid Radio UK
Bruno Bavota has championed the piano since he first discovered its use as a musical instrument…
Much of the record is populated by the dorian (bright) and mixolydian (mixed and misty) types of modes and keys. This type of playing – more whole tones than semitones (more white notes than black; less jazz notes and more classic). The corresponding metric structure of the pieces – adhering to traditional 4 and 8 bar phrases – keeps momentum. Meanwhile the tempo is a glacial coastal eddy over the waves, while with some sharper waves, always brings back to shore. It’s this light effect of all the techniques put together that creates an ennui that is long lasting and free flowing.
The compositional clarion call is inclusive of strings as well, as on hugely emotive opener ‘Out Of The Blue’. The track sounds like a soundtrack to a non-sugary French or foreign film from somewhere long lost and idyllic.
Comparisons can quite obviously be made to contemporary composers such as Nils Frahm and Eluvium, but there is something different here. Something out of the blue. Something forgotten. A posted note from the outlands of time. The reverse refrain aesthetic of the violins punctuating early sections of the album signify this perfectly. In the sense that instrumental levity is a beacon for change and formlessness, but solidity at the same time. One of those great paradoxes of the more that is put in, sometimes the more room for change amidst possible clutter.
That is the most gorgeous thing amongst these misty tones, actually – the lack of clutter. The precision/rhythmicality. “Marea” is a slowly descending trip through G major down to E minor with a lovely sveltness to the strokes of the fingers. Additionally while pieces can be seen as quite short sometimes, the precision quality is heightened by their brevity.
It is hard to pick any fault. The imagery conjured up is also bright, vivid contours of lush fauna; golden fields. Certainly not something doueur and depressing. Rather, one of those bolts from the blue. A gift from a blue skyline.
A Closer Listen
Perhaps the most romantic of the pianists we cover, Bavota continues to allow his heart to lead on Out of the Blue. These pieces are drenched in warmth and ready to woo. Melancholy has no place here; this is a safe haven.
Bavota isn’t simply in love with love; he’s in love with travel, with the mountains, and as evidenced by former recordings, the sea. All of these make appearances on the new album, the sea only briefly on “Marea” (“The Tide”), but enough to wink at those familiar with the artist’s discography. Simply put, Bavota loves at all times and translates his overflowing emotions into piano poetry. Joined here by cellist Michael Nicolas (ICE) and violinist J Freivogel (Jasper String Quartet), he reaches new heights in these pieces; perhaps buoyed by the opportunity to reach a larger audience, he seems more confident than ever. When the strings surge on “Mountains”, the track rises like its title into higher, cleaner air. Add soaring guitars, and this would be post-rock; the construction is similar, the effect triumphant.
And let’s not forget that the composer can easily carry a track by himself; the aforementioned “Marea” demonstrates his ability to shift from simple to complex then to downshift from buoyant into tender. He also plays guitar and contributes light electronics. Even the more orchestrated pieces lie across an ivory bed, the strings acting as a couple bursting through an open door and falling on the cool sheets. Never is this more apparent than on the perfectly titled “Lovers”, which swirls like wind through an open window. Flirtation becomes abandon; abandon turns to happy affection. In “Warm Embrace”, the relationship becomes real.
Smart sequencing ~ solo piano pieces, guitar-led tracks, sometimes strings, sometimes not ~ keeps the listener’s attention and allows the album to flow. Bavota may imply that these songs came out of the blue, but his career certainly has not. Ever higher, ever deeper, ever more in love: this is a trajectory that soars as much into the blue as out.