JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS RELEASES IL TODAY VIA ARTS & CRAFTS
MONTREAL-BASED PIANIST RECEIVES EARLY ACCLAIM FOR DEBUT ALBUM
"Simply put, Il is a masterpiece." – Exclaim! (9/10)
“...nothing short of stunning… This is music that makes your chest feel tight. It is music that feels like clusters of stars being born and dying. It is music that will persist.” - IMPOSE
“Blais's compositions can be as poignant as they are playful, mixing together accessible melodies with experimental flourishes.” – CBC Music
“...meditative modern classical instrumentals… stark and accessible emotionality” - The Fader
“the blissful eight-tracker captures Blais' penchant for experimentation” - XLR8R
“has the lightness and melodic pop sensibilities of Gonzales's work - pleasing, gentle and brief compositions” - NOW (Album Of The Week)
“...a blindingly bright 28-minute release exploring piano textures” - FACT Mag
“a succinct collection of minimal piano compositions that runs the gamut of human emotions: hope, sadness, joy and fear” - Noisey
BLAIS TO PERFORM LIVE IN TORONTO DURING APRIL RESIDENCY AT THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO BEGINNING THIS EVENING AND IN NEW YORK ON APRIL 28
PHOTO: ISIS ESSERY
On March 28, in celebration of Nils Frahm’s Piano Day, Jean-Michel Blais released a mini-concert video produced by CBC Music’s First Play Live. Later that same week, the pianist performed on CBC q. Today, April 8, his debut album Il is being released by Arts & Crafts.
Blais also recently premiered a gorgeous video for album track “Nostos” (feat. BUFFLO) via Thump, and the title track “Il” courtesy of The Fader. Blais will be performing the first of three concerts in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario beginning this evening and will appear at The Rockwood Music Hall in New York later this month before taking the stage in June in Victoria for Pretty Good Not Bad Festival. All performance dates are listed below.
WATCH JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS PERFORM COMPOSITIONS FROM IL VIA CBC FIRST PLAY LIVE FOR PIANO DAY HERE
LISTEN TO JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS PERFORM ON CBC q HERE
WATCH AND SHARE “NOSTOS” FT. BUFFLO (OFFICIAL VIDEO) HERE
PURCHASE IL HERE
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
Jun 19 - Victoria, BC - Pretty Good Not Bad Festival