My Year in Music — 2022
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My year in music has been defined by three different artists. All of them French. But you’d never know that just by listening to them.
They’re all fairly different, too. But there is something that connects them all (other than them being French). They are:
- The Gnossienes by early 20th-century composer Erik Satie
- PLANET by Sofiane Pamart
- Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
Gnossienes by Erik Satie
These are a small collection of songs composed for piano by Erik Satie, an early 20th-Century composer. More famously, he is the composer of the Gymnopedies, some of which fit the description of classical music most people recognize, without necessarily knowing the name, who its by, or where they’ve heard it before.
Both the Gymnopedies and Gnossienes share quite a lot of similarities — especially compared to his other work — but it’s the gnossienes that really got under my skin this year. I probably listen to them at least four times a week. I even started dreaming about pianos and these melodies and their deeper meanings. I think I was a little obsessed.
The songs are unobtrusive and melodic. Calming and comforting. You can find elements of minimalism here: Satie does a lot with a few notes. This isn’t Chopin (or Pamart, which I’ll get to later.)
This is partly what fascinates me. These are not complex songs or compositions. I’m competent but extremely out of practice when it comes to playing piano. But I think I could sit down and read this music and play them fairly easily, for the most part.
But could I play them well? Because despite their simplicity, there is a tremendous depth to this music. If they were a book, you could say there’s deep and meaningful sub-text. I’m not sure what you call that in music, but it’s in these songs in spades.