Galliano Sommavilla – Instrumental Music…From The Heart – Album Review
Well this right here is definitely up there with the best I’ve heard from Galliano Sommavilla so far, and for those of you that read our pages here at Galliano Sommavilla Magazine sleepingbagstudios, you know I’ve heard at least a few tunes by this point in time. Figured I’d just tell the guy how I feel upfront cause he’s generally speaking, usually having a near coronary on the other side of the world over there in Australia wondering what the heck I might end up saying the next time his music pops into my inbox.
Because of the tyrant I can be, obviously.
That just goes to show ya folks…even some of the best of us get nervous when putting our art & music out there into the court of public opinion, clearly. I don’t blame the man…heck, I wouldn’t blame anyone out there for feeling that way – it CAN be scary…especially when you know the person on the other side of the speakers is genuinely listening. If I wrote a single paragraph like most reviewers do on what they listen to and called it a day, it might not matter as much I suppose…I’m very familiar with the fact that my passion on the whole music-front is my greatest asset and by far my biggest liability. I push people creatively…I’ve long considered that part of my purpose in life…but as you’d likely expect, there’s a balance that has to be struck with each & every artist & band & person I meet…lest I push them away.
Galliano’s experienced that firsthand, even miles & miles away over there in Melbourne where he’s based out of, I’ve still been pushing the man from way the heck over here in Canada. If there’s anything I’m consistently guilty of, it’s recognizing potential…but believe me when I tell you, sincerely, it’s just about the hardest thing to encourage in people without going overboard. I’ll fully admit, I go way over the line in just about half of what I write on these pages…and there are a few of you out there that recognize the same things that I do; that if I was writing these reviews for me, I probably would just write a paragraph and call it a day. But the reality some of you out there know – is that I’m actually not. Take it or leave it, as I’ve always said…I’m just another guy in this universe with an opinion…right or wrong, the only difference between me & just about everyone else on this planet is that I write it down.
I’m usually pretty conscious of where things were the last time I heard someone’s music…and when it comes to Galliano Sommavilla, let’s be real – it was probably just last week or the week before that, that I was last checking out something he did and posting about it here…so it’s usually fairly fresh in my mind. Take A Deep Breath…And Chill! didn’t turn out with the comments he was hoping for I’d imagine, the result of me calling it how I hear it as usual…it was a bit of an up/down record for me in terms of the balance in the strengths of the material, that’s all. The man has never put out an album without something magical in the mix for us to experience, and the same is true of that record as well – but yep, I’m aware that he’s somewhat searching for a win this time out. So when “A Kind Heart” began with a slow crawl into the ambient nature intro it has…yup – I braced myself. Obviously MY life is a heck of a lot easier too when life is all sunshine and rainbows in the comments I make, and I wish that’s how things always went…I could go that route like the majority of my peers do and be disingenuous, but no thank-you. So believe me when I tell ya…Galliano…and the rest of you out there that submit music our way – YES – I do actually WANT you to succeed and be the best in what you create – that’s it, that’s all. Listening to “A Kind Heart” shift into its gentle acoustic melody and spring to life with such radiant beauty was nothing short of a spectacular treat for the ears – when this track finds its way to the meat on its bones, it might still be a minimalist’s meal in that regard…but good lordy that’s one magical melody he’s tapped into. The warmth of “A Kind Heart” is something you can absolutely feel right at the core of your soul…Galliano plays this track like he’s got all the time & space in the world to let this song unfold, and in this case, he kinda does. Trust me when I tell ya, you’ll reach the core melodies he presents ya with through the guitar sound & classic piano he’s chosen, and you’ll be every bit as captivated, spellbound, and speechless as I felt like I was. “A Kind Heart” is a genuinely stunning tune, and it’s like the most easygoing, laidback, naturally mellow you’ll probably experience in any genre this year…from the warm glow it has, to the organic ambience he uses, to the sparkle of the crystalline piano melody he’ll sprinkle over the top on the surface – it’s remarkable to be listening so intently, engaged, and completely interested to such an extraordinarily subtle song, but I couldn’t take my ears off of this.
We all like what we like…and for me personally, any time that Galliano has latched onto the natural sound of the piano, he puts himself in a position for that win he’s seeking out. The dude just has a gift that’s beyond words, that’s the reality…and I suppose, one of the main reasons he’s an instrumental artist at that…there are no words needed when you hear the expressive way he plays a song like “A Peaceful Outcome” – Sommavilla is more than capable of making music that speaks for itself. I have it on good authority that this record was made somewhere in the neighborhood of a twelve day stretch or so…and you’d never know it from listening to a song like “A Peaceful Outcome” that plays with timing in clever ways, and possesses a hook that’s built of purely delicate melodic strength that sounds like he’s been playing it for years, let alone hours and days. I have no problem getting behind this song and the vast majority of the tunes on this record overall – they might be lengthy cuts all hovering between the six-to-eight minute range, but Galliano’s really dialed in on making sure that special defining moment, or insatiable hook, or inspired spark we need, is present and accounted for at all times. “A Peaceful Outcome” is a perfect example of a song that doesn’t need to do too much at all to make an impression beyond the main melodic line it supplies through the exquisite piano of Galliano Sommavilla – he’s added a bit more to it of course, but thankfully, it came out with just enough of all the right ingredients. It could be the oncoming yuletide season & all, but this song really sounded like it captured the spirit of the holidays somehow too…maybe it’s the icy warmth of the melody, maybe it’s the thought-provoking way the piano is played and how the notes seem to hang in the air to be considered as we hear them…I don’t know if I can put a finger on specifically what had me feeling this way, but I definitely enjoyed it. It wasn’t like…you know…the overboard holiday jingle stuff…that’s not what I’m implying or saying – I mean like the deep Christmas cuts that you have on around the house, likely playing on the night before.
“A Tender Moment” is still another high-quality cut in the sense of its production & sound & all that. I know Galliano does a lot of that stuff and generally kinda takes it way harder than he really should – he’s a musician first & foremost, and for what it’s worth, his production is almost always completely bang-on. The man’s either trying to fish us for compliments, or just a little unsure of himself…and I’d assume it’s the latter; although that in itself will blow your mind when you consider how good his music really is. But I ain’t here to play the role of therapist, no do I have a license to accurately judge anyone’s state of mind or reason to assume I know how they operate or think…all I can tell ya about really, is what’s coming through the speakers surrounding me. “A Tender Moment” is aptly titled and a bit more true to the light Jazz vibe & traditional instrumental classic many of you out there would be familiar with from a nice evening out there on the town, or romantic dinner somewhere. It’s more exciting than Muzak, but it’s right on the edge…”A Tender Moment” is the kind of song I’d never remotely consider turning off, but at the same time it’s not the cut I’m gonna rant & rave about either – it’s “A Tender Moment,” plain and simple. Enjoyable even if not particularly exciting…it’s a well-played, quaint tune on the new album. There’s a bit of tension, a bit of drama, a bit of mystery, and a lot of sparkling beauty on display…it’s a bit more mellow than the openers to a degree, at least before it finds a bit more bounce after the two-minute mark…arguably, even after that as well though. There’s a little less identity in a song like this one compared to many of Galliano’s tunes as a result of “A Tender Moment” feeling a bit closer to the instrumental music we’re all familiar with, but by that same token, it should be fairly readily accepted.
While you could point out the fact that “Closin’ Time” is even mellower than “A Tender Moment” was in terms of its energy, and I’d have to agree – I’d still tell ya that “Closin’ Time” has more of that defining magic that’s gonna pull us in to listen. Or at the very least, I know that’s how it went for me personally – I did have a few spins where I wondered if there was enough to this percussion-led tune for the average everyday set of ears to latch onto at times as I’d listen. Ultimately, it’s a mood and a moment I think that the people out there will appreciate as much as I did with a couple spins under their own belts – I felt the attachment to “Closin’ Time” seemed to grow the more I listened to it myself. It’s a unique cut on the record…I mentioned it’s percussion-led…which is my own take on what I hear and not necessarily the way it was intended, but that’s the dominant trait – and I’m realistic about that…outside of D&B tunes, most listeners at the very least, aren’t really expecting that scenario to be the case. As the kind of person that gets down on all kinds of styles & sounds out there in the music-scene, I’m all about it – I think switchin’ it up in that regard was a really wise choice on Galliano’s part, and I felt like you get a wonderfully unique cut in his entire catalog with “Closin’ Time” as a result. There’s more than enough melody that eventually drifts into the mix along the way to keep you folks that need a lil’ something else to keep ya fully engaged beyond the percussive aspects, but I found there was always something sensational to listen to all throughout this song, even at its most sparse, beat-driven moments in time. Every so often, Galliano seems to find himself right at the heart of an atmosphere that’s unlike any other he’s created, and “Closin’ Time” has a lot of uniqueness that stands out in that sense – personally, for as slow-moving & paced-out as this song appeared to be, I found it 100% captivating every step of the way.
Credit to those beats too! A track like “Follow Your Dreams” makes incredible use of the contrast in pace & tempo – you’ll hear the background speeding along, while everything up front in the mix is much more spaciously designed and spread out. As far as the piano tones go…we’re talking about remarkably rich sound…the kind of tones you’d find on Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile – and that’s hallowed piano ground if you were to ask me, so take that as the massive compliment that comment is completely intended to be. On an individual sound basis, I love a lot of what I hear and the range in the selection of what Galliano’s chosen to use – and the main melodic piano hook is extraordinarily effective. As to whether or not, as an eight minute-plus tune, there isn’t a bit of extra space that could potentially be tightened up here on this particular cut…that might be harder to say; “Follow Your Dreams” still has plenty of quality ideas well worth your time to listen to, but as I mentioned, more spread out through the structure than you’ll find some of the other songs feel like by comparison. That being said, each time Galliano’s finished taking a tour through the valleys of sound he’s creating and circles back to the main melody line on the piano that’s at the core of “Follow Your Dreams,” it’s extremely effective, and undeniably as welcoming as it is exciting to hear come back again. There’s a chance this is one of those scenarios where you need one part to really appreciate the strength of the other…I’d accept that to a degree I suppose. I dunno. Like I’ve been tellin’ ya all these years, I’m a strange dude – I’d find myself happily sitting and listening to the full length of “Follow Your Dreams” for what felt like hours on end, fully hypnotized by the beat/melody combo he’s workin’ with here and never once feel like complaining. I can accept that it’s a bit of a looser structure to a degree, but in bringing back the familiarity of the main melody throughout this song, it felt like any time Galliano began to wander, he found his way back to what we were looking for quickly enough to keep us all sticking right with him as the song played on.
While I don’t know if we ALL share the very same definitions of what friendly, welcoming, pleasant, and inviting sound might be when you hear’em all combined…I suspect it sounds just like what you’ll hear on “Mystic Forest,” and that we’ll all recognize this stunning gem for what it is when we listen. As far as instrumental tunes go, it can often be tough to figure out what could qualify as a single-worthy song that would be strong enough to pull in people into the realm of music without words – but I’d wager a bet that “Mystic Forest” would be a quality candidate to fill that role. Galliano’s discovered a genuinely endearing melody here that’s as pleasant as it is entertaining – and I think a ton of people out there would have no problem at all whatsoever liking or loving this song from start to finish. There’s a hint of added accessibility within the more upbeat vibes of a track like “Mystic Forest” that gives it the advantage of a sparkling appeal that, while still steady & stoic, is still plenty enticing to listen to, and exciting in a different kind of way. It might not be caused so much by some dramatic movement or shift in the sound, so much as it’s an effect of listening to something whereby everything feels like it found the exact right place it belongs. “Mystic Forest” would be a tough song NOT to love in that regard – it’s another fantastic example of the natural & organic digital vibes that Galliano so masterfully creates at his most focused, and I’d be hard pressed to believe that this wouldn’t be a fan favorite on this record.
“You Can” is another track that’s more than likely to get its due share of the credit for the strength in this lineup of songs for sure. It’s a bit on the brighter-side of sound compared to the low-end infusion you’d usually find in something like Massive Attack, but this track from Galliano is very comparable to the ethereal & dreamy atmospheres they’ve explored throughout their digital twists in sound along the way. “You Can” feels like the refreshing vibe, and has the genuinely uplifting spirit & sound you wanna hear in a moment like this…Sommavilla’s working with a waterfall-esque pattern of piano notes and gentle synth brass sounds in the mix, resulting in an airy atmosphere that floats right through your speakers and happily on into your ears. All-in-all, I really dig on the sunny-side-up disposition this whole song seems to have…it’s another stellar cut that shows how much heart & sincerity that Galliano can squeeze into a tune, even without the use of a single word. He’s a gifted composer when it comes right down to it – it’d straight-up SHOCK most of you to find out that so many of the songs you would hear by this guy have been invented right then & there, on the fly, first take…and that 95% of the time (according to the official statistics provided by the man direct), there are actually no edits, retakes, or remixin’ – the majority of the time you’ve ever spent listening to Galliano’s music, has been a complete experience in what’s mainly improv to a large degree…a fact of which, proves he’s outright superhuman. At the VERY LEAST, not of this earth – I cannot even begin to express the incredible average of success he has when it comes to his material…far more often than not, you’ll find the music Galliano makes to not just be good, but entirely great and immensely satisfying. And if ya need proof – “You Can” listen.
Taking us back into nature where this whole adventure began, “The Dreaming” wraps up Galliano Sommavilla’s new record on triumphantly sweet & subtle notes. From its curiosity-inducing start, to the absolutely beautiful melody that begins to nestle inside the song after the first minute, “The Dreaming” is one last dose of purely invitational sound that’ll have you wanting to repeat this whole album before this final eight plus-minute tune is even over! You factor in the warmth of the bass-lines that come in to assist with the beat just prior to the three minute mark, and it’s good game from there folks – once “The Dreaming” has all its pieces in place, there’s just no resisting the uplifting atmospheric vibes that take over from there on. He’s really been clever about how he’s worked in so much natural & organic sound into what’s essentially an all-digital recording process…and “The Dreaming” is as excellent of a highlight to point to in that regard as any could be – Galliano’s smooth production, crystal clarity, and extraordinary gift for creating melodies that connect straight to the heart & soul comes shining through in this last cut. I’ve said it more than most I’m sure by this point in time, but to make it as stunningly clear as the music in this very last tune – Galliano, you’re one truly talented musician my brother – and every single time I listen to the songs you come up with, I’m genuinely in awe of what you’ve come up with next. Instrumental Music…From The Heart is the victory & breakthrough he was seeking out – this is the natural sound of an incredibly unique musical mind at work, and that my friends, is one extremely beautiful thing to experience. Don’t take my word for it – get out there and put this guy on your playlist.
Find out more about Galliano Sommavilla from his official website at: https://www.galliano.com.au
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