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“The Cakemaker” is an Israeli/German award-winning feature film that is about a German man whose Israeli lover dies and he goes to Israel to discover what happened to him and meets his lovers widow. The movie was described as “a tender,tactile and just-sweet-enough story of hidden love, challenged faith and unwittingly shared grief.”

Naturally listening to a soundtrack without seeing the film and the scenes that the music accompanies, you have to come up with your own sense of what the music represents.

“Instantè” aka “Instantaneous” is a gently flowing travelogue piece where you can imagine someone traveling and looking out into the scenery. The music is calm, but also has a section that is more forceful which conveys a feeling introspection or trepidation. The tone changes through the piece to where even when the music is the same as the introduction, the feeling is more cautious with a slight sense of uneasiness.

“Heartbeat” soft lightly played piano gently unfurls bringing along an emotive section of playing which compliments the intro. There is a sense of moodiness that flows before the tone and control changes and the music becomes more confident. The playing increases in speed and the textures become vibrant and with a title such as this, I would imagine it to represent the increase in the pace of the heart under stressful situations. The way that the speed builds up is incremental with a sense of urgency and emotion.

“Le Goûter” aka “Afternoon Tea”, a short interlude that has a feeling of haze by the recording process with a musical feel of somewhat relaxation, but also a bit of uneasiness. It could just be the way the keys are played giving the feeling of unease in the that they sound like stabs over the gentle flowing other section. The pace, combined with the stabbing keys adds to this feeling. You could imagine the piece expanding on its length and adding a small string accompaniment and being a grand piece.

“Clair-Obscur” aka “Chiaroscuro” which is painting term used to describe the contrasts of light and shadow. For this brief one minute and sixteen second piece, the two tones generated represent light and shadow. The more forceful part, for me, represents the light coming through over the quieter ‘shadow’ section.

“Kinema” aka “Cinema” opens with repetitive keys playing alternating melodies before the piece, as the title suggests, becomes cinematic with what sounds like a synthesized string section that oddly feels a little proggy. The music soars and the drones accentuate the piano and brings out more from the piece than if it were only solo piano. The natural recording process picks up the nuances of the instrument which also gives a slight percussive sound to the piece.

“Jour De Pluie” aka “Rainy Day” takes a minimalist direction in its mournful sound and pace. Slowly played with an emphasis on creating mood through the use of its keys. It feels in a way slightly disjointed with its structure going back and forth in a jaunty fashion. The mood is somber and this is represented through the pace of the playing. Towards the end the pace does pick up, but its the timbre of the piano which holds onto this mood.

After listening to this Soundtrack Ep and viewing the video below, you will want to check out the movie to see the pieces in action. The recordings have the naturalist sound which is popular now, but the reason for this is that it strips back the piano and reveals the true emotion of the instrument. This helps in guiding to creating their own visual accompaniments and just gives the music an authentic edge.

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“Réminiscence” is Charpentier’s second solo piano album after 2016’s “Passages” and like “Passages” it is self released. Charpentier states “The concept of the album was quite simple: to create piano compositions inspired by cities I have visited or places with which I have a special relation. It’s not about description but more about remembering
emotions, stories, feelings, and people. Each track was composed in less than two hours, in order to force myself to create something very spontaneous and simple (some of the tracks were composed in a very short time, like “Rue des Acacias”, which is actually a total improvisation I made in a piano shop in Paris, while choosing my new piano).” German musician Fabian Rosenberg aka Klangriket collaborates on the track “Berlin”.

“Rue des Acacias (intro)” slow, but smoothly flowing piano that has a certain mood to it that comes across as introspective yet challenging, delicate but with intention. Field recordings, of the surroundings where the music was improvised and recorded seep in. The music feels very confident in its tone and playing and you get there certainly is a connection between the address of the title and Charpentier himself.

“Buda” a somewhat slightly obscured sounding recording that feels as if under a veil. Romantic in its tone, the piece expands on its original motif which further pushes the piece into romantic territory. There is a certain intimacy in the piece that feels to me, like a piece of music that references a past love or a special place that cannot be returned to. It is largely controlled in its pace and the flourishes into the expanded motif just slightly raise the intensity.

“Pirouette” the most intense track so far, starts with an almost pop song like feeling that you could imagine vocals over, before it starts heading in a narrative direction before becoming more insistent in the playing. Returning to the earlier motif gives it a cinematic feel and when it returns to the insistent section, it feels like the track has gone full circle and that something has been resolved.

“Barfluer” you get the feeling of an old piece of music (naturally in a good way), such is the tone and the rhythm of the piece. The music utilises space and minimalist techniques in the center section which leaves listeners hanging on each key waiting to see where the music takes us. The music e comes across specially as cinematic, but with a narrative vision that is up to the listeners personal interpretation. You get the feeling that the middle section makes some sort of statement and the fact that the opening motif returns almost gives a feeling of something is repeating (in the cinematic vision) rather than a resolution.

“Pest” feels slightly disjointed in the way the piano is played, especially the fast flourishes. One thing that stands or is the richness of the tone of the piano and the way the weight of certain section conveys a definite intense mood. For a piece that just goes over the two-minute mark, you don’t get the feeling of a vignette, rather, you get the feeling of a fully composed short story that doesn’t have any unnecessary elements.

“Paris” has a rich tone that shares a recording quality to that of “Buda” where the keys seems muted and are not as vibrant as say other tracks. However, this adds to the track because it feels more intimate and personal like the piano is just being played for you. The tempo changes throughout with the opening having a flowing beginning moving into a hurried section before completely changing to a minimalist section where the keys are allowed to extend out and then just as they are about to get swallowed by silence, ring out again. I am not sure what this states for his relationship with Paris, but it appears to have several emotions.

“Berlin (feat. Klangriket)” fast natural sounding piano meets drones that cast over from time to time. Rivulets of piano reverberate and welcome a section swirling with drones and some electronics that bury the piano to a murmur underneath. I am gathering just by the sound scape that features in the track, it is a reference to transport / traffic and the speed coupled with other aspects of the drones, are for the hectic 24 hr Berlin existence, but I could be wrong. A nice track fleshed out and adds something extra to the album.

“Brugge” a city that features medieval architecture, canals and cobbled streets is musically given a contemporary modern classical sound in this track of the same name. Similar in structure to “Paris” in the composition involving a minimalist second half, the opening sees slow delicate keys turn to gentle rolling keys. The sound generated is romantic with the emphasis on higher notes. The sound is uplifting and balances delicate passages with an increase in tempo and refrains from being heavy-handed.

“Miette” you get the feeling of a classical dance piece like a slow waltz at the beginning of the track, but with a touch of melancholy that gives it a darker edge. This melancholy extends through the track especially in the final section. The middle part inhabits a different territory where the playing is very fluid and lyrical and contrasts to the beginning and end sections. The music flows, but with an incremental feel. For such a brief section it adds to the overall journey of the track.

I have a soft spot for Dominique’s music as he was the first artist to get in contact with me in regards to reviewing his work. That particular release, “Esquisses”, made my best of list for 2017. I also have great admiration for those who release their own music. It takes a great deal of confidence to stand behind your own music and be responsible for getting it heard by people, rather than hoping someone else can release and do this for you. With “Réminiscence” Dominique has once more excelled in creating a beautiful release that would be a crime if ignored. If you are looking to hear a great piano album, you would be hard pressed to find a consistently enjoyable one such as this. Recommended.

One thought on “Dominique Charpentier – The Cakemaker / Réminiscence .

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