If you’re a regular reader of ours – or even a casual reader, if we’re being honest – you already know everything you need to know about Australian instrumentalist Galliano Sommavilla. (And if you don’t, we highly recommend checking out some of his other work.) We’ve had the pleasure of reviewing quite a few of his releases over the last year, including several works that have been released in years prior. Today’s sonic adventure is one such piece of music. Released in 2017, today we’re listening to the 9 track instrumental album Breathe.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Ethereal is a fitting term for so much of Galliano’s work, but always with a bit of an edge. The album opens with Breathe Now, a dark, cinematic, yet airy number driven by strings and a remarkably modern beat. It contains plenty of the dynamic, ever-moving melodies that have become a Galliano signature in our eyes. Memorable, but never too simple.
Breathe Once More follows, a brighter piece with a twangy electric guitar, sing-song keys, and punchy bassline, bouncing the rhythm section of this track along. As the electric guitar comes and goes, it seems to dictate the level of “sunshine” there is in this track, so to speak – its harsher, distorted tones at moments easily sliding the overall feel into something more serious. However it maintains a primarily major melody for much of the track, acting more as a a recurring character rather than a main player in this complex soundscape.
Just Breathe starts with haunting female vocals, almost dreamlike in their delivery, but they quickly give way to a steady, determined melody and accompanying beat. The guitar work contrasted with the saxophone on this track is particularly enjoyable; the guitar is clean in tone and generally simplistic in execution, while the sax is vibrant, raspy, and complex. The juxtaposition of these contrasting parts gives the entire track a call and response feel.
Another standout is title track Breathe, moving in a slightly futuristic, perhaps almost 80s direction at the start. It combines spacey vocals with a particularly bouncy bassline that drives the track. The song has contagious, motivational energy, sort of glowing with optimism from the percussion up through the interspersed guitar licks. But it also manages to work in saxophone and strings alongside all of this existing instrumentation – in many situations, this would be a recipe for chaos, but here, the blend and transition into a bright, jazzy piece by the end feels seamless.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Galliano describes Breathe Freely as “sort of Lawrence of Arabia meets Café del Mar”, and it’s a very apt description. The rich eastern tones and melodic lines blend so effortlessly with a relaxed, almost tropical undercurrent. The result is a track with a gentle but intentional energy, moving forward with purpose but not with urgency. It has all the hallmarks of Galliano’s best work – in short, the cinematic, immersive effect of this music allows you to get lost inside his sonically created universe. To captivate without lyrics in music is not an easy feat, but Galliano does it again and again.
It’s far from a surprise to find that we’ve once again thoroughly enjoyed the work of Galliano Sommavilla. His intricate, nuanced instrumental writing abilities continue to impress us again and again. Soaring strings, complex rhythms, illustrious melodies that create entire landscapes using only sound – we can never get enough. And as we come to the close of a particularly turbulent year, this project is an especially welcome reminder to take a moment and Breathe.
BELOW: Listen to Breathe, and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Galliano Sommavilla by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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Listen to music from BREATHE by GALLIANO SOMMAVILLA: