Dominique Charpentier‘s Lueurs is a lovely collection of composed music with electronic and acoustic flourishes. From solo piano pieces (“Pitchoun”) to delicate, romantic elegies (“Parachute”) to downtempo electro pieces (“Leuer“) to complex and novel post-rock-style pieces (“Chat Perché”), Leuers covers a lot of ground very effectively.
The 10 pieces are all connected by an overarching mood: there’s a wistful, dusky sense of earnest throughout the work. Most of the works are solidly grounded in piano (or at least keyboard) performance, and this clear beginning point lends the rest of the arrangements a confident air. But this is not to-boldly-go music (despite the synthy enthusiasms of “Chat Perché”); this is much more careful and precise work, with each element being careful placed and developed. This album works because each of its individual parts contribute equally: the songs all contribute to the album’s vibe, and each instrument contributes equally to each song. There’s no big synth blasts driving the bus for most of the album; for example, the ethereal synths are mixed almost on par with the sounds of rain for much of the songin the beautiful “Falaise”.
“Ressac” is a favorite of mine off the record, transforming a midnight-blue piano introduction into a post-rock piece with the introduction of electro beats, blurps, and arpeggios. The outlier of the record (“La Cabane”) is a ukulele-based fugue that delivers an instrumental twee indie-pop piece Lullatone would be proud of; while it doesn’t quite fit the tone of the record, it’s a lovely song that I would rather have on than off the release. Charpentier closes out the record with two very quiet solo piano pieces, bringing the mood back in line with the rest of the record and sending the listener off with the mood of the record swimming in my head.
Leuers is a strong release that spans genres without getting too caught up in its genre-blurring; none of the tracks here feel like attempts to pull off something that’s over the composer’s head. Instead, there’s a wide array of skills and ideas on display here. It seems self-evident to say “it’s a great record to listen to,” but not all records reward just sitting and listening. Charpentier has done just that here: created something that’s fun and interesting to listen to, even repeatedly.
Leuers comes out November 22. —Stephen Carradini