By Aubrey Woodward
Dominique Charpentier, a French pianist and composer, recently released his EP Esquisses on his bandcamp on June 23, 2017. Esquisses is French for ‘sketches’ which matches this EP perfectly – the experimental way that Charpentier created these tracks echoes the act of a rough sketch. He challenged himself to create these tracks in a very short period of time.
All the tracks were composed in less than two hours and were created with this method as a form of artistic experimentation. According to Charpentier, ‘The idea was to stimulate my creativity and force myself to make very spontaneous compositions. The improvisation part of the process was very important of course but then I also had to make essential choices about the musical structure and the instrumentation in a very short time.’
Despite the time restrictions that went into creating this EP, it is impossible to tell that a shorter time period was a factor in the creative process. Esquisses consists of five separate tracks; each track carries a different emotion within them, whether it be melancholy or romance, and they are all very strong tracks individually. What’s more amazing is the way that all of these tracks fit together. While one might think that this method of composing might lead to similar sounding compositions, it only makes them stronger – and together they make a very strong, cohesive body of work.
Though the actual album only lasts a little over 12 minutes, the emotions it evokes range wildly. Through the simplicity of the composition, the listener is left intrigued and longing. The minimalist aspect of Charpentier’s music does not take away from its effect, but simply leaves it more open to interpretation. Experimental, yet evocative, it’s an extraordinary body of work.