Dominique Charpentier is a self-described “French indie minimalist musician and composer” who also is self released. His latest release is “Esquisses” which will be released via his Bandcamp page on June 23. “Esquisses” features the artwork of artist Anna Salzmann who has just collaborated on a release with her partner Gareth Broke on 1631 Recordings. In the past he has composed for the short film “Genova” and computer games such as “Grim War” and released a CD called “Passages“. All his other releases are digital only.
For “Esquisses” he set an experiment for himself in that he would compose each track in less than two hours and to edit and mix in less than one. The idea being to test his creative process. Listening to the results you wouldn’t think that such pieces were the created in such a short time frame.
“Esquisses” means a rough or preliminary sketch, which listening to these tracks the feeling is quite the opposite. More like the tracks are well fleshed out. Coming in at a hardcore record length, these 5 pieces are over in 12 minutes and 12 seconds.
“Esquisse I” opens the ep with a romantic feel to it. The undercurrent is well paced with a frantic piece over the top that starts off mid paced before increasing in its intensity before matching the slower relaxed pace as the piece draws to a close. At a little over 2 minutes in length it is a piece that sets the tone for the ep and would be even more of a delight if it was three times this length.
“Esquisse V” is the first track to add in extra instrumentation with the addition of mournful strings that compliment the piano, which has a more ambient and abandoned set of sound, as if it was recorded in an empty room. Ambient waves of synth replace the string part towards the end and add an extra dimension to the track.
“Esquisse IV” is a slow rolling delicate piece that has a crystalline piano sound with light keys which is joined swirling Synth ambiance in the background before a darker bass tone takes over and the Synth takes equal center space with the piano. Neither instrument blocks the other and they coexist perfectly, complimenting each other and making it equally a Modern Classical and Ambient piece.
“Esquisse I” sees the more frantic undercurrent running piano keys compliment with higher notes that exist in both minimal and maximal spheres and provide great melody and structure. The beauty of just the piano recording is you can hear the instrument rather than just the keys, like the hammers and the pedals. The track has an interlude at the half way point before the track starts up again slowly building steam and while not reaching the same intensity, ends on a satisfying bass note.
“Esquisse III” sees the return of the strings which are a highlight of this all too brief a track. A slow to mid paced track for something so short, 2 minutes and three seconds, its quite epic in stature. The chords of the piano would suit some vocals lines (not unlike Nils Farm’s “Hammers”) to add icing on the cake.
It would be easy to see this ep as something more than it is. It could easily be part of a soundtrack to a feature film. The length of the tracks are perfect and make great little vignettes. For an artist that is used to being self released, he could easily slot into the roster of say 1631 Recordings.