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Modern Classical: Andrea Carri, John Puchiele Ensemble

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ANDREA CARRI: Chronos (CD on Psychonavigation)

This release from 2014 offers 45 minutes of modern classical music.

Joining Italian pianist are: Carla Chiussi (on violin), Emanuele Milani (on cello), Roberto Porpora (on guitar and effects), Francesca Mantovani (on synthesizer), and Perry Frank (on lap steel guitar and soundscapes).

Obviously, piano is the dominant instrument here, delineating tuneage of a tender, almost endearing nature.

The piano is quite gentle, expressing melodies in a calm manner, with each chord ringing crisp and rich with cerebral appeal. As with most piano composition, the space between the notes counts as much as the notes themselves, and that aspect is applicable here—and handled with almost reverent skill.

While mostly the piano notes are languid and pensive, there are occasions in which the keyboard offers more shimmering riffs, often attended by the other instruments.

Those other instruments provide depth to the keyboard passages. Crystalline notes wander through the mix, embellishing the ambience with their influence. Smoldering lap steel guitar sustains contribute ethereal tones. The strings inject a classical flair to things.

These modern classical compositions explore temporal realms accessible only through deep, introverted contemplation—but these tunes wrench such evaluations from the psyche and present them for anyone to study. While the overall energized quality of the music is nil, its evocative character is prominent and the tunes' allure creeps up on the audience, lulling them and coaxing them into the embrace of the studied chords. The melodies are soothing and amiable...a sort of old school form of ambience.

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JOHN PUCHIELE ENSEMBLE Life Cycle (CD on Antediluvian Records)

This CD from 2013 features 61 minutes of tender ambient music.

A mixture of orchestra and electronics result in a peaceful dose of ambient music.

The electronics are rather understated here; the emphasis is on orchestral instruments and keyboards.

The use of orchestra to produce ambient tuneage is novel and quite enticing. The strings achieve a delicate buzz whose lilt floats on buoyant breezes. While at other times the chugging saw of the violins generates an anticipatory flair that remains sedate despite their urgency.

The keyboards alternate between pleasantly unobtrusive and center-stage demonstrative. The latter evokes a commanding (yet gentle) authority, while the former approximates a subliminal soporific.

The compositions are peaceful and alluring. Their winsome resonance flows with smooth delivery, unhurried and ethereal. Yet the tunes convey a certain puissance in their gentility, influencing the listener's psyche in a fragile manner, delving deep beneath conscious thought to sedate and invigorate with their understated influence.

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