JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS REVEALS NEW VIDEO FOR “NOSTOS”
MONTREAL-BASED PIANIST TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM, IL, ON APRIL 8 VIA ARTS & CRAFTS.
BLAIS TO PERFORM LIVE IN TORONTO DURING APRIL RESIDENCY AT THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO BEGINNING APRIL 8 AND IN NEW YORK ON APRIL 28
PHOTO CREDIT: ERIC MORRISSETTE
Jean-Michel Blais recently debuted the new single “Nostos” from his upcoming debut album, Il, set for release on April 8 via Arts & Crafts. Today, the Montreal based pianist is sharing the video for “Nostos” courtesy of Thump. Directed by Jason Rodi, the video pairs drone footage by Antoine Leger with Blais’ composition.
"In Greek literature nostos is a theme whereby the hero returns home by sea following a series of trials,” says Blais. “The final section of James Joyce's epic Ulysses is also titled 'Nostos' wherein the protagonist returns to a home he imagines hasn't changed, or has it? Thematically, nostos represents a longing for the past, a nostalgia. In our times of climate change, when our environment is quickly becoming unfamiliar to us, what has become of that home? Oceans are raging, icebergs melting, sea levels rising… Is our longing for home, for a 'return to the same,' even possible? What are we longing for?"
Blais will be performing in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario in April, followed by a performance at The Rockwood Music Hall in New York later that month. In celebration of Nils Frahm’s Piano Day on March 28, Blais will also be releasing a virtual concert.
Jean-Michel Blais is a 31 year-old pianist from the province of Quebec. His enchanting instrumental compositions pair the melodic pop sensibilities of Amélie-era Yann Tiersen and Arts & Crafts alumni Chilly Gonzales with the breathtaking technical skill of classical minimalists like Philip Glass and Erik Satie. Il is his debut album of original compositions.
Blais grew up in a rural French Catholic town in Quebec bereft of Culture save for a giant encyclopedia he’d read feverishly as a child. At age 9, Blais began tinkering on his family’s organ, improvising, and at age 11 he started to write original compositions and began taking piano lessons. A natural talent, by 17 he was invited to the Trois-Rivieres Music Conservatory and began training as a classical pianist. However, Blais was entering the throes of teenage rebellion and found the constraints of formal training a cumbersome rigid structure. Gravitating towards experimentation, Blais wasn’t content to be told how to play, and instructed to not improvise or compose.
A few years later, he attracted the attention of famed playwright and director, Robert Lepage, who introduced Blais to a who’s-who of Quebec’s entertainment industry. With no particular plan for a music career, he quickly took a step back and decided it was time for more explorations.
He moved to Europe in his mid-twenties, living in Berlin, and spent six months in South America. During that time he’d intermittently compose music with long gaps of not even touching a piano. Blais finally settled in Montreal where he rediscovered his love for composing and performing which caught the ear of Arts & Crafts. Written and recorded at home over two years by improvising every day, Jean-Michel Blais’ debut album, Il, is now set to be released.
JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS LIVE
Apr 8, 15 & 22 - Toronto, ON - Art Gallery of Ontario,
Apr 28 - New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2