There is a variety of moods present throughout Karluca’s Piano Sentiments One and the opener “Amore” has an elegiac and inward looking tone undeniable from the first. Hearing this opening track alone provides plenty of evidence that Karluca has played music since six years old as he has advanced technique and confident, relaxed elegance as a pianist. His skillful use of melody further sets him apart from the pack; this composition, as well as others, show him unreeling appealing melodies as if they spring full born from his head in an inspired rush. “Amore” sounds and feels completely effortless.
“Awaken” continues in a similar vein. It has a much more outright upbeat feel than the preceding performance and introduces Karluca’s first time listeners to his physical and percussive playing style. It contrasts well with the electronic touches Karluca layers into many of these compositions, but it’s the piano riffing that lures listeners in and retains their attention for the whole recording. There are some ethereal vocals present in the track “Dream”, but they are wordless and quite in keeping with the sort of singing you’d expect to hear in a classical composition. This cut takes a number of different musical directions during its duration but has an overarching unity that never wavers.
The eloquent melodic lines of “Drop of Water” are evocative and even a little playful. It is to Karluca’s credit as both a musician and composer that he is able to condense his musical ideas into such a small frame without diluting its impact on listeners. “Drop of Water” is an ideal illustration of that as it achieves enormous atmospheric effects despite being a sparse composition. “Fantasy Land” treats listeners to a bit of musical sleight of hand. It begins in a muted near melancholic fashion before its demeanor picks up and conforms more closely with the song title. Karluca eschews any electronic accompaniment on this track and his piano playing carries the day.
“Morning Mist” is a winning blend of Karluca’s piano and warm synthesizer lines that entwine in a mesmerizing way. There is a smattering of sound effects added at the track’s beginning, birds chirping, and it enhances the overall mood of the piece. It’s another melodic gem on an album bursting with such moments. Synthesizers play an important role in the penultimate track “Walking Around”, but they aren’t as prominent as they were in “Morning Mist” and Karluca’s piano playing leads the way. There is some percussion in the finale “Working Men” and it sounds like Karluca brings his guitar playing into the mix as well. It’s a stormy and intense closer for Piano Sentiments One that puts an emphatic exclamation point on this collection.
It’s an impressive musical statement from beginning to end. Karluca does an exceptional job of establishing a lot of variation with this release; no one hearing this collection will claim any sort of “sameness” plagues it. He uses electronic instruments in a way tailored to reinforce rather than overshadow his piano playing; his relationship with that instrument is the defining quality of the memorable Piano Sentiments One.