Reviews 5-12-2019

Music Reviews 

 

   

Notte

by Milana Zilnik

Visit Milana at:

Milana's website

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

One of the great joys of being a reviewer of new music is that I am constantly exposed to a wide variety of great compositions from artists all around the world. Oftentimes it's the artists themselves who contact me and allow me the opportunity to listen to their music which I might not have heard otherwise because of the large amount of music that's released each week. Other times it's the serendipitous discovery of music that leaps out at me as I wander through my social media feeds trying to keep up with what's happening in a multitude of musical communities that populate the online landscape. Such was the case with Notte by Milana Zilnik which I found in my AV Twitter newsfeed as a YouTube video (8pm. Shadows) previewing her upcoming album due to be released in June of 2019. After listening to the preview song, I was impressed enough to share it on my Twitter feed with a positive comment about the song and the hopes that the album would be just as good.  This led to a conversation with the artist about her music and ultimately ended up with her giving me an advance copy of the album that will shortly be available for everyone. It was inevitable that with an album this good that I would decide that it was worth reviewing here in the pages of Ambient Visions.

I will start by saying that the preview song that I heard in the video I mentioned above was by no means unique on this album because every song on this project embodied that same quality and that same introspective, emotional feel that I experienced from the one song on YouTube. From what I gather in the liner notes this was Milana’s first experience at composing and playing very ambient, minimalistic piano compositions and she did so at the urging of her husband as a way of expanding her musicalexperience and broadening her musical repertoire.

After listening to this new album several times through I would never have guessed that Milana wasn’t already a veteran of this type of music or this style of composing. After having heard some of her other music, which is available on Spotify, I have found her piano playing to be quite melodic and a fine example of solo piano playing at its best. There is a fine line between what I would classify as solo piano and ambient but with her new album Notte Milana has expertly shifted into this new realm of ambient and done so in such a way that you would never suspect that this was new territory for her.

 

The album’s title is Notte which is Italian for Night includes 12 compositions that are named for those hours when shadows start to form on the walls from the setting sun until the first rays of a new day dawns in the morning. If you’ve ever spent time up late at night or into those solitary moments after midnight when the whole world seems to be asleep you will know that it is a different world than it is during the day and even little noises become amplified by the silence that surrounds you. There is a palpable feel to the darkness outside the window and the feeling of being alone with yourself and your thoughts. Milana has captured these feelings with her music on Notte which breathes out this serene, solitary feeling through each note that she chooses to play on these pieces. Each note of these compositions speaks volumes to the listener through the fact that they are chosen specifically and deliberately by Milana to carry these delicate emotions through the medium of her music and to communicate them to those who have opened their emotions to this path through the darkness of the night with her music as the guide.

If you thought that the hours of night are a time of loneliness or feeling like a solitary person against the world you would be wrong. Milana’s music is both reassuring and comforting to those taking this journey through the quiet hours of each night and it leads us through the darkness by walking beside us and letting us know that these hours are a time of reflection, a time for dreaming, a time to relax away from the world’s turmoil and a chance to revitalize ourselves so we can face the dawn of a new day that’s always waiting for us in the morning.  

Milana has created with Notte a musical portrait of those mysterious hours of the night when as the Moody Blues might say it “removes the colors from our sight, red is gray and yellow white” where our normal perceptions of the world are changed as we look within ourselves and we dream about what could be instead of what is. Milana’s compositions provide a relaxing atmosphere that caresses listeners with a gentle touch that allows them to use her musical notes as signposts for moving through a landscape that looks quite different than it does during the day. Her minimalism is as smooth as silk and is a delight to listen to over and over again.

Milana’s music has an intimate touch to it and allows the listener to feel the emotions that she has imbued in each of her compositions and the album shows how Milana has achieved a mastery of communicating deeper meanings through her keyboard which by itself is no small feat. From the first notes of 8pm – Shadows to the last song on the album called 7am -Dawn Milana weaves a musical tapestry that evokes those emotions associated with the silence that one finds in the “wee small hours of the morning” while the world sleeps. The sound quality of this album is impeccable throughout and captures perfectly Milana’s compositions. Her gentle touch on the keyboard and her understanding of what it is she wants to communicate to her listeners allows her music to create a simplicity that touches each listener in a different way. Exactly how it should be.

After hearing this album, I can only hope that Milana will consider doing more of this kind of project in the future. The nuance and the delicacy that she has shown in composing and recording these songs demonstrates conclusively that she has more of a feel for this type of composing than perhaps she knew she had. I would not be able to pick any of the compositions from this album and point to it as my favorite track because all of them were exquisite little journeys through the hours of the night and the morning. After a few listens this album will wend its way into your soul, and you will find that its musical landscape will be one that you will want to return to time and time again. If this was her first time composing in this style of music, I can’t wait to see what she might do when she has some experience under your belt. Well done. Recommended by Ambient Visions.    

Reviewed by Michael Foster, editor Ambient Visions