Embracing The Future was supposed to be a different album. After three days in the studio with a beautiful Steinway & Sons, and after recording around two hours of solo music, Simone Graziano had a bizarre idea when going back home – he opened the piano cover, threw his mobile phone in, pressed Rec, and closed everything. It was the first day of the second Italian lockdown. The recorded sound reminded me of something like a piano with a gothic church echo, which intensified the final part of the sound, almost cutting off the attack. He immediately fell in love with it. There was no other sound he wanted to listen to.
This is why Embracing the future has a special sound – an emotional one. All tracks are originals – except for Billie Eilish “When The Party’s Over” – and refer to different genres: electronic, classical, and improvised music.
Simone Graziano recalls: “I’ve spent around 36 years with an instrument that always had the same sound. I could try a different model or size, or be in a different room, but the sound was always the same, more or less. Knowing exactly what was under my fingers and what reaction my playing could generate allowed me to feel calm, it was like an unchanging sense of safety – pianos, no matter the type, will always sound like that.
That uncanny sound, so different from everything I’ve ever heard before, pushed me to delve deeper, and go beyond the black and white fence of my keyboard. I started to put almost everything on the piano strings – cigarette filters, erasers, toilet paper rolls entirely decorated by my daughter. What still drives me crazy is that sense of uncertainty you feel when a sound that you considered unalterable actually changes completely by simply adding an object on it.
This sense of uncertainty reflects what I feel today about our new normal – we are forced to rethink everything we took for granted. By reflecting on our conditions, we discover new ways of connecting with the world, just like by putting a cigarette filter inside my piano I discover a new way of thinking that big black piece of furniture. I’ve posted most of my experiments to my Instagram account (hashtag #fragmentadallockdown) on a daily basis for almost two months”.
Embracing the future has been entirely home-recorded by Simone Graziano on his Yamaha C3 piano, which has been 100% modified to enhance its darkest timber. Another remarkable decision is related to the recording tools: two “omni” mics placed inside the keyboard, almost touching the hammers. As an effect, the listeners feel like their head is inside the instrument, perceiving every detail, from releasing the key, to the phalanx touching the keyboard, to the creak of the piano bench, to the sound of the pedal being pressed.
The entire work has been skillfully mixed by Francesco Ponticelli at Cicaleto Recording Studio and mastered by Stefano Bechini. Embracing The Future is Simone Graziano first piano solo album, as well as his seventh as a leader, after the Frontal quintet trilogy (Frontal, Trentacinque, Sexuality), two trio albums (Lightwalls, Snailspace), and one sextet album with Purple Whales.
1. When The Party's Over 04:31
2. Damn Spring 02:47
3. Dora Et Les Adieux 02:54
4. Embracing The Future 01:59
5. Tancredi 02:17
6. Nihilo 03:10
7. We Will Hug Again 04:19
8. Always Whispering 03:49
9. Brahms Tears 06:15
10. Stars Behind Me 02:33
Simone Graziano - piano
All songs by Simone Graziano (published by Jazz Engine ed. mus.) except #1 by Finneas O'Connell
Recorded at Casa Graziano on October 2020 – February 2021 by Simone Graziano
Mixed at Cicaleto Recording Studio, Arezzo, Italy on March 2021 by Francesco Ponticelli
Mastered at Green Brain, Piancastagnaio (SI), Italy on April 2021 by Stefano Bechini
produced by Simone Graziano & Marco Valente
executive producer: Marco Valente
cover and inner photos by Caterina Di Perri