LIVE PERFORMANCES CONTINUE SEPTEMBER 30
"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 The Year 2016
"Simply put, Il is a masterpiece." - Exclaim (9/10)
“Blais's compositions can be as poignant as they are playful, mixing together accessible melodies with experimental flourishes.” - CBC
“...meditative modern classical instrumentals… stark and accessible emotionality” - The Fader
“a succinct collection of minimal piano compositions that runs the gamut of human emotions: hope, sadness, joy and fear” - Noisey
PHOTO CREDIT : ISIS ESSERY // DOWNLOAD HIGH-RES
Comme s'enchaînent les événements de la vie, toute variation change, altère, éclaire, approfondit, confirme, exalte, crée ou recrée d'avance* un thème qui auparavant semblait s'exposer en toute clarté. Ainsi, une expérience ne vient jamais, ni seule ni complète. (Ad claritatem Domine, thème & variations). *Merleau-Ponty, L'oeil et l'esprit.
As events in life unfold, any variation changes, alters, enlightens, deepens, confirms, exalts, creates or recreates in advance* a theme that beforehand seemed to expose itself in all clarity. Hence an experience is never met, neither apart nor wholly. (Ad claritatem Domine, theme & variations). *Merleau-Ponty, Eye and Mind.
Today, Jean-Michel Blais is sharing the new 360 video for “Ad Claritatem Domine” from his critically acclaimed album, Il. Directed and produced by DTO Films, who also produced the visual for “Il”, the video seeks to recreate the album’s cover photograph.
Earlier this year, Blais collaborated with Grammy-nominated electronic producer CFCF in Montreal for Red Bull Music Academy, which led to the two recording and releasing an EP together titled Cascades.
Since last year’s release of Il, Blais’ single “Nostos” has been streamed nearly 17 million times on Spotify, hitting #1 on Hype Machine’s Popular chart twice, and #14 on Spotify’s Global Viral chart. The album debuted #1 on the Canadian Billboard Classical chart, was long-listed for a Polaris Music Prize, and landed on TIME Magazine’s top ten albums of 2016. Blais participated in Nils Frahm’s International Piano Day with a performance for the CBC and completed a month-long residency at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
MORE PRAISE FOR IL
“...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
“the blissful eight-tracker captures Blais' penchant for experimentation” - XLR8R
“...a blindingly bright 28-minute release exploring piano textures” - FACT Mag
“There's this sense of measured extemporaneity to his playing that allows my mind to wander unlike anything else this year.” - MTV, Meaghan Garvey
“Il features both astonishing flurries of notes and graceful pacing...It’s thrilling,
versatile music.” - The Verge
Sep 30 - Sherbrooke, QC - Theatre Granada
Oct 18 - Paris, FR - MaMA Festival
Oct 25 - Laval, QC - Salle André Mathieu
Oct 29 - Wakefield, QC - Black Sheep Inn
Nov 2 - Saint-Jerome, QC - Salle Anthony Lessard
Nov 5 - Shawinigan, QC - Maison de la culture Francis-Brisson
Nov 15 - New York, NY - Joe’s Pub
Nov 18 - Montreal, QC - Theatre Rialto
Nov 26 - Toronto, ON - Harbourfront Centre
Nov 30 - Quebec, QC - Grand Théatre de Quebec
Jan 20 - Ottawa, ON - First Baptist Church
Feb 8 - Brive, FR - Theatre Les Treize Arches
Mar 24 - Cowansville, QC - Eglise Emmanuel
Apr 15 - Ste Genevieve, QC - Salle Pauline-Julien
May 13 - Val-Morin, QC - Theatre du Marais
MORE ABOUT JEAN-MICHEL BLAIS
Jean-Michel Blais is a 33 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.
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, improvisation, 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.
A few years later, he attracted the attention of famed playwright and director, Robert Lepage, who introduced Blais to the 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-20s 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, was released on April 8th 2016.