The Wire - March 2008 review
Italian guitarist Stefano Pilia is a lyrical minimalist. That turn of phrase must seem oxymoronic, depending on how austere your minimalism, but Pilia quietly and simply adheres to basic principles about the guitar. His playing evokes oceanic stillness, or tangles driftwood gently bobbing in one place, directionless after the flood. Pilia has already presented us with several solo records, the most recent of which, The Suncrows Fall And Tree, was one of the 2007's more eloquent explorations of drone. This interest is still in evidence on Action Silence Prayers, thought is far from the album's raison d'etre. Instead, the guitar is tenderly plucked, singing out calm, winding melodies and that kind of closely chorded, gently discordant shapes once perfected by Taku Sugimoto, Before he turn disappearance into an art form. On "Sky" Pilia applies a similar diffidence and quiet determination to plaing the piano, before an underwater loop for guitar, piano and a Marina Rosenfeld sample peacefully spools aut of audition, like tape unwinding from a reel-to-reel. "Sea" and "Land" bookend the set with texturological explorations that are more elegant than Pilia's previous drone outings. However , the solo guitar recitals are the most affecting pieces here. Wheter exploring the beating of notes just out of phrase , as on "Question", or skimming the guitar's surface with raindrop chimes, as on "Water", Pilia's playing is poised, higly articulate and emotionally generous.