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Monday, December 12, 2022

Filippo Abrate - Warm To Become (MUPE, 2022)

By Guido Montegrandi

When musicians go solo, their space expands and they confront (among other things) the choice to fill it with torrential sounds or to build architectural sounds that (hopefully) will make that space meaningful. This is the case of Filippo Abrate's solo percussion work, which is the first release of a new-born label MUPE (created by Filippo Abrate and the upright bass player Marco Bellafiore ). Young musicians at work trying to develop their global idea of music: something worth of our interest.

When declaring his influences in the field of solo recording Filippo Abrate mentions Keith Jarrett’s Vienna Concert and Paul Bley’s Open to Love for their use of space and narrative tension they create; and use of space and narrative tension are building blocks in the making of this work.

Warm to Become is made of five pieces that use different compositional approaches: two composed pieces (Bright eyes, pure heart andspirit, spirit, spirit), two pure improvisations ( improvisation n.5 and Night Dance) and an image-guided improvisation (ancient cerimony-spusyn ) which makes up the soundtrack for the not-yet-released short film Masquerade by Raffella Tomellini.

Often, the sounds seem to come from a distance, soft, allusive with a pictorial quality that is well represented by the cover of the CD. At the same time, particularly when the drums prevail, the sounds show a proximity that creates a narrative flow, a word-like consistency.

The author says: “[in the composed pieces] I choose in advance the materials I want to analyze in an abstract way as if they were colours, than I try to connect them in an intense and coherent way”

Bright Eyes, Pure Heart and Spirit, Spirit, Spirit share the same three parts structure and both exhibit a story-telling attitude in which the different sections create contrasts and continuities that accompany the listener to the heart of the matter.

In Ancient Cerimony-Spusyn the evocative side prevails with gongs, harmonic sounds and a sense of distance. It would be interesting to see it coupled with the images it refers to.

The two free improvisations, improvisation n.5 and Night Dance, go into an explorations of the different possibilities that the raw material of percussions offer: wood, metal, skin spaced in a rhythmic dialogue with silence.

So in conclusion what we have is the debut solo work of a young musician that exhibits an excellent control of his materials and shows ideas pointing to interesting directions but, above all, it offers us good music to listen to.

Available on bandcamp