Yesterday released the Dominique Charpentier, Joakim Alfven, Harrison Mountan, Sjors Mans and Fabian Rosenberg their collaborative piano album project "Sketches" via Soundcloud and Spotify. It is an exciting project that was realized in the last spring with lots of effort and creative spirit with those five artists from different corners of the world.
The idea behind "Sketches" came originally from the Orlando-based pianist and film score composer Harrison Mountan, who wanted to share with it the "magic" of improvisations. The represent for him just one part of the whole compositional process on the certain piece, but they carry so much inspiration and fascination. Harrison said about those "magic moments" in improvisation sessions: "There is nothing quite like sitting down at the piano and playing. [...] Ideas form and crumble like sandcastles and notes crash over you like a wave. For a moment, nothing else really matters and all that exists is the instrument in front of you. That's that magic of the moment."
The idea became quickly reality. The French composer Dominique Charpentier and the Dutch musician Sjors Mans joined Harrison right at the beginning of the project. After some weeks welcomed the trio also the Stockholm-based Fabian Rosenberg (Klangriket) and Joakim Alfven, who completed the group. Each pianist had recorded in the following weeks two impromptus and captured raw, unfiltered, intimate musical sketches. Ideas and unfinished musical thoughts that were born in the studio on the piano or the synths in that certain "magical moment" like Harrison described it.
"There is nothing quite like sitting down at the piano and playing. Just playing." - Harrison Mountan
The immediacy of the moment was very important for every piece on this recording. Sometimes shaped events the tenor and the sound impression of the pieces like on "For they who had to go" (Part 1 and 2). Fabian Rosenberg composed those two impromptus in a spring week, where a horrifying act of terror hit Sweden and dedicated his work for those "those who's no longer with us, to they who had to go." (Quote by Fabian). The emotional depth and the heavenly synth ambient parts made them so powerful and sweeping.
In the tradition of musicians like Arnold Schönberg or Josef Matthias Hauer composed the other Swedish composer Joakim Alfven with "Not with a bang" and "But a whimper" two slow, atonal pieces with an interesting melancholic sound like in some film noir scores. He gives every note on his piano a strong momentum like Sjor Mans on his both pieces "Thios" and "Thuas". The Dutch pianist underlined the immediacy of his improvised pieces with all sound that he could also hear in his studio. Dominique Charpentier captured in just two hours his two sketches that were both also released on the "Esquisse" EP in July. The floating minimalistic piano motives in "Esquisse I" and "Esquisse II" are uplifting and evocative, because of his little variations within the pieces. Harrisons wonderful pieces "Spring" and "While this city sleeps" are even more minimalistic and reminded me of old film scores from the 50s and 60s. Beauty in simplicity!
The album is rounded off with a brilliant artwork by Kassel-born Anna Salzmann, who is known for her stone paper, ink and watercolor works and already collaborated with modern classical composers like her partner, the British composer and pianist, Garreth Broke. So enjoy her painting and listen of course to "Sketches" on Soundcloud and Spotify!