Paolo Monti - electric guitars and electronics
Federico Gerini - acoustic grand piano
Setola Di Maiale / Taverna Records 2013
The Star Pillow is an example of how diverse improvised music can be. When one hears the term it usually brings to mind some kind of frenetic activity, with whole lot of going on in all the directions, fast lines, sudden changes, mind-boggling cascades of notes, emotional outbursts of expression. "The Beautiful Questions" are in many ways the opposite of all the above.
Three long improvisations are minimalist, filled with plenty of space, repetition. Patiently weaving the notes together, with subtle changes in the infinite loops. Spacious, meditative, peaceful quite hypnotic and charming.
The cd begins with over half-an-hour "On, In ... Out". The first half of the piece is based on a single loop, delicate guitar notes like a crystal glass, resonating in the air, with sweet guitar adding melodic accents, countered by some harp-like sounds played inside the piano. To listen is like watching a stream flowing over the stones in the river, the sun creating an ever changing reflections on the spring's water surface. It's easy to let yourself loose in the view and in the listening experience.
Somewhere in the middle the piece scenery changes, there's some turmoil inside the piano and the duo emerges from it gracefully, there's an echoing returning tick on the first plan, being surrounded slowly in a misty cloud of recurrent sounds. After a moment of complete silence the last passage of the piece is a full immersion in a dense glitch, until the mass of sounds become a white wall noise.
"The Roots of Amazament" are similarly dreamy, with more piano, romantic, maybe bit too sweet. "Happy to be dirty" is a defnite change of pace, filled with strange skronks and bubbles, it's more eerie, more dissonant piece with a majestic finale crescendo.
I don't know what are the questions but the answers are quite beautiful indeed. This is a kind of album that slowly seduces you and grows on you with each listening experience. Soothing, relaxing, to dream along with your head comfortably resting on a star-shaped pillow.
The music is released under creative commons licence. You can find more informations here.