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Jean-Michel Blais

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Jean-Michel Blais is a Canadian pianist. His work, while primarily improvised, recalls the influence of composers such as Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel, as well as minimalists like the young Philip Glass. Blais' works sound spontaneous and emotional as evidenced by "Dada" from his 2016 debut offering Il, rather than clinical and technically precise, and he often incorporates experimental production techniques into his recordings. His discography includes the CFCF collaboration Cascades (2017), the Polaris-nominated Dans ma main (2018), and the Top 15-charting Aubades (2022). Blais grew up in Quebec and started playing organ and piano as a child. He began training as a classical pianist at the Trois-Rivières Music Conservatory, but was more interested in pursuing his own path. After spending time in Berlin and South America, during which he sporadically created music, he moved to Montreal and began taking music-making seriously again. Arts & Crafts released Blais' debut album, Il, in 2016. This was followed by Cascades, a collaboration with CFCF, in 2017. Dans ma main, Blais' second solo album, was released in May 2018, and was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. Blais' fourth project, Eviction Sessions, was released through Arts & Crafts in November 2018. Blais got inspired to record it after being informed he would be evicted from his apartment (after living there seven years) due to neighborhood gentrification. This was the same apartment in which he recorded his debut album, and his response was deeply emotional. In October 2019, Blais released the soundtrack to the Canadian film Matthias & Maxime. He received a special mention for the work at the Cannes Soundtrack Awards. Aubades, his third solo album, appeared in 2022. Following extensive coverage from Canadian national media, it reached number 14 on the album charts.
© Paul Simpson /TiVo
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