Karluca’s eleven song album release Piano Sentiments One is an instrumental effort guided by his classical piano influences. Other instruments, however, play an important role in shaping this collection. His classical music influences form the foundation of his musical knowledge, but Karluca’s exposure to electronic instruments, particularly keyboards, during his teens and beyond opened up new creative vistas for him to explore. The Orlando, Florida based composer likewise incorporates judicious additions of percussion into his music and demonstrates a consistent talent for surprising listeners during these eleven musical pieces. Some utilize electronic accompaniment more than others do and Karluca is, thankfully, never content pursuing a single mood throughout Piano Sentiments One.
It is apparent the man behind these pieces is intelligent and, above all else, thoughtful. The opener “Amore” is a prime example of the introspective mood defining many, but not all, of these recordings. Everything centers on the piano, but Karluca shows he has a keen ear for where to place other instrumental embellishments within the larger context of the song. His melodic strengths are on full display as well. The percussive melodic virtues of the second song “Awaken” has a much livelier character than we heard with the opener and its different instrumental strands seamlessly complement each other. It’s one of my favorite musical moments on the album and has an uplifting bounce impossible to ignore.
“Drop of Water”, like other performances recorded for this album, reveals why Karluca’s music has proven an easy sale for documentaries and other films. Despite the relatively limited amount of instruments Karluca calls upon to bring his compositions to life, his songwriting has a distinctly cinematic flair in the way it conjures images in listeners’ minds. “Drop of Water” has an understated sweep and scope drawing listeners in from the first and his piano playing reaches new heights on this recording. “Fantasy Land” is a track featuring piano only and its shifting pace will hold listener’s attention from the beginning. The slightly downcast feeling and tempo pervading the opening of the composition soon gives way to a lighter and more playful mood appropriate for the song title. It is a nice shift in gears to hear Karluca relying on his piano playing alone with no other adornments.
“Life Within” boasts some of the best melodies included on Piano Sentiments One and rife with the classical conceits fueling many of the album’s tracks. The demeanor of the performance is uniformly positive but, nonetheless, makes great use of that same introspective and thoughtful texture running through many of the compositions. “Open Sea” incorporates some ambient sound, crashing waves are heard during the opening of the track, while piano and synthesizer lines weave in a tighter duet than what we hear on many of the album’s other cuts. There’s something for everyone on Karluca’s Piano Sentiments One and even those who ordinarily disdain classical music will find this to be a rewarding release if they keep an open mind and give the pieces included on the album a chance to work their considerable magic.