The idea behind Carlos Cipa’s new album is easy to describe: one room, one piano, onepianist/composer.
Taking one’s time. Approaching with the greatest possible impartiality. Simplyimprovising, at first only from, for, and with oneself. But what at first might seem a simple conceptbecomes more complex at a closer look.In recent years, many of us have likely contemplated more than ever on ourselves, and some of ushave had the opportunity to get to know ourselves better – or, at least, differently – during this time.It is precisely this process, of coming to terms with our innermost selves, that Carlos Cipa celebrateswith his new album and which has inspired his musical expression.
Thus, Cipa sees the nine shortpiano pieces, created in ultimately just a few weeks, as a “conscious introspection”, a kind of“zooming in on the object of contemplation, and in this case oneself”. It is undoubtedly from verypersonal and intimate insight which Cipa draws this album.Apart from the idea of impartiality and self-speculation, Cipa took one other decisive conceptualapproach: to play as quietly as possible.
The fascinating result is nothing less than the discovery of anew piano sound world, with considerably fewer percussive elements and significantly more stringsound, some of which would hardly be perceptible without recording technology or amplification andwhich, according to Cipa, allows “an even deeper empathy with the instrument”.In the microcosm of Cipa’s “quietness”, which also values the importance of making quiet thingsaudible, background noises – or “sounds that the piano simply makes”, as he says – are unavoidable.Avoiding them has never been Cipa’s intention.
He is, of course, not the first musician to givemeaning to these supposedly disturbing noises (produced by the mechanical processes in theinstrument) and make them part of the music. Not only the musician, but also the instrument, mayand should be what it is.With its quiet, contemplative solo-piano sounds, Ourselves, as we are may not seem groundbreakingat first glance. But, as Cipa points out, “Today, it can be more radical to make a quiet piano albumthan a totally complex and intricate piece of music.” Undoubtedly, the multifaceted sound paletteand disarmingly raw and fragile emotional elements make the music of Ourselves, as we are a deeplyvulnerable collection. In the age of fake authenticity, remakes, and pieces commissioned for high-reach mood playlists, this approach is perhaps one of the few remaining ways to create art: to revealour true selves. Radically personal. Radically intimate. Radically honest. Ourselves, as we are.