CASCADES OUT MARCH 15 VIA ARTS & CRAFTS
CFCF & JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS TO PERFORM AT SXSW MARCH 15
“[CFCF’s] own records are stunningly variegated…His influences are both esoteric and familiar. [His arrangements are] not designed to add danceability and bombast, but arranged to coax out emotional qualities... [His] songs are both breezy and cinematic.” - The New York Times
“Jean-Michel Blais strings together stunning improvisations and composed pieces that harken back to Chopin, Satie, and modern minimalists like Harold Budd... The music breathes, and it invites you to take a moment and recognize there’s still plenty of beauty left in the world’
- TIME Magazine, #10 Album Of 2016
PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Wilton // DOWNLOAD HIGH-RES
Neo-classical pianist Jean-Michel Blais and Grammy Award-nominated electronic producer CFCF have announced Cascades, a collaborative EP due out March 15 digitally on Arts & Crafts. The album will be released on LP on April 14.
Building off their sold out performance during the globally-celebrated 2016 Red Bull Music Academy, Cascades is a stunning 5-song, 30-minute meeting-of-minds that navigates the spaces between the artists’ respective crafts and tendencies toward playful minimalism. Featuring reworkings from the duo’s catalogues, a reworking of John Cage’s “In A Landscape”, Cascades is a celebration of the traditional and experimental, dissolving the old into the new.
“Hypocrite”, a collaborative composition by both musicians, is out today. On the track’s genesis, Blais says, “Sitting in my studio / room, I modestly played the four cheesy chords that open “Hypocrite”. Mike’s genius idea was to take it as far as possible from its classical / pop roots, we ended up blending it with the 90s trance-era sound. At first we thought “we can’t do that, it’s way too weird,” then we started loving it, probably surprising the listener as much as ourselves.”
Mike Silver (aka CFCF) also reflected on the desire to challenge conventions: “Jean-Michel sent me a zip of some of his unreleased compositions, and this one stood out to me because it had a kind of baroque, sad, romantic quality to it, but it was slightly poppy despite its unusual chord structure. At first I suggested making it a trance song almost as a joke, but the concept took hold and it just made sense. I think the intensity of the super-saw synths shocked us, and hopefully the listener, out of a certain complacency about what constitutes an ‘appropriate’ approach to classical music.”
CFCF and Jean-Michel Blais will perform at SXSW, on the day of Cascades’ release, March 15. This will be their first collaborative performance outside of Montreal.
1. Hasselblad 1
2. Two Mirrors
5. In A Landscape (Rework)
MORE ON JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS
Jean-Michel Blais is a 31 year-old pianist from Montreal, Canada. 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, his debut album of original compositions was released on October 7, 2016 by Arts & Crafts.
Blais grew up in a rural French Catholic town in Quebec absent 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 started to write original compositions and 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 cumbersome rigid structure. Gravitating towards experimentation, Blais wasn’t content to be told how to play, and not to improvise or compose. Read Jean-Michel Blais’ extended bio here.
MORE ON CFCF
Michael Silver (aka CFCF) is one of those rare talents to whom pop sensibility seems to be second nature. The Montreal native has been making music in his bedroom since he was 12 years old, and over the past 6 years or so that the rest of the world has been able to share in his pop experiments. This wide scope of interest in genre and pop structure and mature melodic instinct allow him to shift gears effortlessly from Techno and House to Ambient and New Age; from Kate Bush- tinged pop to the melancholy micro-genre known as ‘Night Bus’ (of which Silver has been a pioneer), and everything in between. His pop music can be sweetly sad or creepily disturbing, but it is always fundamentally Pop. Read CFCF’s extended bio here.
ARTS & CRAFTS