Exposé Online banner

Petrina — Petrina
((Not on label) Ala Bianca ABR 128554069-2, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-09-27

Petrina Cover art

I had not heard of Debora Petrina until she was suggested to me by an email from Jolanda (She Owl) – both are Italian singers who play piano, but in most other ways, they are quite different. Petrina has been operating in the field of modern classical music for some time, with a recording of Morton Feldman piano works to her credit, and with In Doma (2009), she branched into vocal music. Her free-wheeling, all-sounds-considered approach is refreshing, and the instrumentation for the individual tracks varies considerably, from near solo keyboard to standard rock band to string quartet to electronics and so on. On “Little Fish from the Sky” a busy piano part is accompanied by some fairly abstract electronics, and then later hyperactive electronic percussion is added. “The Invisible Circus” has a wobbly organ part and odd spoken vocals at the beginning, then journeys through a number of sections of varying intensity, mostly with her singing accompanied by piano and martial drums, but with some synthesizer parts as well. Electric guitar makes occasional appearances, such as the noisy interjections on “Princess.” The arrangements for strings go well beyond simple transcription of piano parts, utilizing modern techniques and taking advantage of what the instruments can do beyond ordinary notes. On “Denti” the acoustic piano of the other tracks is replaced by electric piano, and there’s an almost funky groove with the drums and guitar. “I Fuochi d’Artificio” brings in a tuba for the bass part and klezmer-like clarinet in the ensemble, along with trumpet, accordion, and marimba. “Sky-Stripes in August” gets two different treatments, one with electric instruments and one with prepared piano and orchestral backing. “Vita da Cani” is a whimsical song with animal noises (mostly dogs) in the background. I could go on and on… every song is a winner, and each has its own distinct identity, all held together by Petrina’s engaging voice. The lyrics are divided maybe half-and-half between Italian and English, and no matter what language she sings in, her voice is wonderful, pretty but not too pretty, with strength or delicacy as needed for the situation. The compositions are sophisticated and varied, informed by both modern avant-garde and solid pop-craft, straddling divergent styles comfortably. Petrina (the album) is an amazing accomplishment; Petrina (the artist) is a talent to watch, sure to astound us again in the future.


Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Debora Petrina

More info
http://petrina.bandcamp.com/album/petrina

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pink Floyd - The Division Bell – Eight years since their last studio release, Floyd have come forward with another fine collection of songs, with no real surprises — their timeless style intact — this could just as easily...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues