For all intents and purposes Stefan Schulzki can be labeled a rather eclectic creative artist. He completed studies in composition, film music, sound design, and piano. Since 2001 he has been working as a freelance composer and music producer, composing mainly chamber and vocal music, typically in combination with live-electronics, and music for feature films. He also performs regularly on stage, playing the piano or electronic musical instruments such as modular synthesizers. He can go from the avant-garde ambient sound of “Glacier Point With Milky Way”, to the experimental “Animal Dreams”, which is made entirely of recorded animal sounds. In between, he can lay down an epic electronic film score like “The Super” or a schizophrenic hour of diversely intricate musical flavors, such as can be found on “Chamber Music”.
Then surprisingly, within the same breath, Stefan Schulzki can release a minimal piano composition such as “Lightness”. The piece remains stubbornly repetitive, yet there’s something so mesmerizing in this composition, where the notes serve as hypnotizers that lull the listener into the record. The repetitious nature of the piano music mesmerizes to the point of trance, with each flurry of notes providing a feel that suggests emotion rather than mood.
The quiet nature of the brief musical movement is certainly Stefan Schulzki’s forte, as he moves across the hushed and hypnotizing notes with natural ease. Though seemingly repetitive, “Lightness” is as emotional as it is gorgeous, providing the world with a great introduction to Schulzki’s varied talents as a composer and performer.
While many of his other compositions quantify what he is capable of producing, when provided with equal portions of musical instrumentation and luscious narrative terrain, “Lightness” demonstrates that less can be more.
There is no moment where the cascading melody leaves the piece, nor does it leave the listener. It is arguably Stefan Schulzki’s best work from a purely minimalistic viewpoint. “Lightness” demonstrates once again that the palette of solo piano minimalism is a perfectly viable medium to express music in any era.
This has occurred through the history of music, from the early days of fully fledged orchestras, to modern-day electronically induced ensembles. Beauty has always been comfortably felt within the sound of the piano alone.
Like an intricate painting that reveals stunning detail when viewed very close but universal images when viewed from far away, Stefan Schulzki music offers different levels of experience when listened to in different ways.
In a way, it is the element of joy that is the crucial end goal of all the notes and repeating motifs on “Lightness”, as well as the element of the distinctly human touch executed by Stefan Schulzki. It makes the simple artistry of this recording all the more valuable.
Stefan Schulzki is the kind of musical figure that lives within several different musical worlds. His compositions may sometimes require a certain degree of scrutiny to be truly appreciated. Just as easily, you can find yourself mesmerized without even knowing it, by a simple solo piano tune like “Lightness”.