Sardinian composer, producer and sound designer Stefano Guzzetti recently released the deluxe vinyl edition of his album Leaf (Brooklyn Bridge Records), a moving collection of instrumental compositions presented with intricate, classical piano and lush string arrangements.
I first heard Stefano's music in 2012 when he launched his Waves on Canvas project with the impressive "Into the Northsea" album, on which he collaborated with vocalist Louise Rutkowski (This Mortal Coil), Pieter Nooten (Clan of Xymox), and Ian Masters (Pale Saints) among others. The track, "Angel", with beautiful vocals from Louise Rutkowski, revived and continued the ethereal atmosphere, melody and style that 4AD Records' This Mortal Coil and The Hope Blister projects had created several years earlier.
Stefano has since released several magnificent albums under his own name, including At Home, Piano Book (Volume 1) (2014), Ensemble (2015), Waiting for Spring (2016), and Escape (music for a ballet) (2016).
Leaf is an outstanding collection of thirteen songs that is splendidly sequenced - this is one of those albums you should listen to in its entirety in order to absorb the atmosphere and intended progression of emotion from track to track. In the liner notes, Stefano thanks 4AD Records founder Ivo Watts-Russell for "sequencing this album in such a beautiful way". And I wholeheartedly agree.
"All Our Days" is my favorite track on the album. This is one of those songs that you could imagine appearing on a movie soundtrack - the one that's being played as the actor is called up to the stage to receive their Golden Globe award for their performance. This timeless, uplifting, yet contemplative song showcases Stefano's piano-playing and composition skills at their finest.
"Psalm in A Minor" is presented on this release of Leaf as Stefano intended it to be - incorporating spoken word sound clips from German philosopher Erich Fromm: "The less you are and the less you express your life, the more you have and the greater your alienated life. What is superior, things or life?"
"Mother" is an absolutely beautiful string-driven song with its moving cello intro. This sounds like a lost track from This Mortal Coil's "Blood" album.
Other standout tracks include "Saliva" and "To the end". The latter is the perfect ending to this album, carried by piano with beautiful cello and string arrangements (a la Pachelbel's "Canon in D"). The song slowly and gently ends, just as gracefully as the opening track "Womb" introduced the listener to the beautiful intricacies, simplicity and beauty that Leaf offers.
In addition to the music itself, the artwork for the deluxe vinyl edition of Leaf was created by legendary graphic designer Vaughan Oliver (v23) who gifted the indie world with his outstanding, creative artwork for most of 4AD Records' releases throughout the years. One could consider the vinyl edition of Leaf to be a work of art in itself - featuring a 180g 12" vinyl record, a 10" booklet and the compact disc.
For more information about Stefano Guzzetti, follow him on Facebook, Instagram, listen to his music on Bandcamp and Spotify, and check out his official website.