A very prolific composer, Dominique Charpentier had until now followed the path of Contemporary Classical music, by releasing numerous solo piano projects that were enchanting by their simplicity and the intimate quality of their pieces. His last releases, Reminiscence and Carnet de voyage, had demonstrated some of the finest music being done at the moment. Chrysalide, the composer’s latest EP comes as a surprise. It is new both for the listener, and for the composer. Its carefully chosen title hints at Charpentier’s new approach to composing, and his wish for creative evolution. Made of four pieces—each titled after the Greek classical elements—the project slowly reveals the composer’s musical transformation, from acoustic to electronic.
Chrysalide is a progressive EP—illustrating the morphing of the composer’s creativity—in which the style of Charpentier evolves slowly, from piece to piece. Terre is based on what seems like a Spanish chord progression that, faithful to the composer’s style, takes turn in musical episodes. The subtle layer of electronic sounds announces the changes that are about to come with the following piece, Air. The first surprise of the EP; where the morphing starts to resonate for the listener. An electronic percussive element is discreetly layered over the pianistic material, showing a balancing state between the two worlds. Again, a light coating of synth adds some dimension to the music. At the same time, the piece shows the former personality of the composer and the new him that emerges. Mer, digs furthermore into Charpentier’s electrical explorations. The piece pushes the sound of the keyboard forward into multi-layered polyrhythmic sheets of synth. A percussive background—which connects to the previous piece—brings the music towards something more urban. Finally, Feu builds on the production of the three previous pieces. It is a vivid illustration of the composer’s new direction. Here the acoustic piano has lost its central role, and acts as one of the many loops of the piece. In a very short time, the music builds up to a beating exciting electronic track.
Chrysalide is a release that has been carefully crafted in order to reveal Charpentier’s new musical intentions; step by step—fading from acoustic to electronic driven material, from nostalgia to enthusiasm and excitement. There is some earthy material and a burning desire to evolve. A new space for the composer to breathe, and fluidity in his metamorphosis. It is a wonderful surprise and has nurtured my curiosity towards the new musical direction. There is so much personality and character in this release, and if it is a turning point in Charpentier’s musical evolution, then well done.