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Upcoming shows: Jean-Michel Blais... The Burning Hell... Sam Outlaw... The Weather Station... Tiny Ruins... Lithics... Mass Gothic... A Bingo Records Showcase... La Luz... Michael Nau... Horse Feathers... Haiku Salut... Wolfgang Flür... Mull Historical Society... Ólafur Arnalds... The Sonics... BC Camplight... Terry Riley & Gyan Riley... The She Street Band... Milky Wimpshake... Dawn Landes... Halo Maud... Steady Holiday... Jo Passed... Easter... Eleanor Friedberger... She Makes War... William the Conqueror... Hater... Jen Cloher... Robert Vincent... The Lovely Eggs... HALEY... The Breath... Holy Moly & The Crackers... Saintseneca... Kiran Leonard... Ryley Walker... Great Lake Swimmers... Lera Lynn... Saint Sister...

When: 8pm on Friday 20 July 2018
Where: Low Four, Old Granada Studios, Security Lodge Entrance, Quay Street, Manchester M3 4PR

PLEASE NOTE: This show now takes place at Low Four in Old Granada Studios. Please also note that there is no support act – with doors now opening at 8pm and Jean-Michel performing from 8.30pm. 

We’re delighted to be working with Canadian pianist and composer Jean-Michel Blais for the first time.

Dans ma main, the sophomore release by pianist and composer Jean-Michel Blais, is an expansive album of post-classical piano with strands of electronic detail. Blending his conservatory skill and precise pop sensibility with synthetic accompaniment, Blais creates unique environments where the piano’s intimacy can be subtly disrupted at any time.

Blais sets the stage with gentle, consonant album opener forteresse, a reversed cascade of high tones and accidental ambience. As he describes it, ‘The fortress is our pillow, our bed, our house, our city where we safely rest at night, allowing our mind to ramble, floating between consciousness and id, darkness and lucid dream.’

Largely composed in one week of open exploration, Blais comes closer to the improvisational source of his writing, painting impressionistic stories within the fluid, indefinite outlines of dreams. Dans ma main rolls like clouds of nostalgic fog blown away on a clear wind, at once recalling and signifying the end of Il, his critically acclaimed 2016 debut album.

By contrast, Il was written and recorded by Blais over two years, culled from rolls of accumulated experimentation into an enchanting, unignorable arrival. Il unearthed an unknown musical imagination, with overwhelmingly intimate compositions cloaked in the romantic din of Montreal city noise. The debut album would go on to amass 50 million streams worldwide, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Classical chart in Canada 14 times, and transforming audiences globally.

On Dans ma main, tempted by a tangent first explored on Cascades, his 2017 collaborative EP with Grammy-nominated electronic producer CFCF – born from a featured performance at 2016’s Red Bull Music Academy – Blais steps out with an artistic statement that both reaffirms and refutes his post-classical stature. The disparate universes within Dans ma main are so seamlessly entwined that they appear borderless.

Dans ma main weaves together expressive piano with austere synths in a double-helix of acoustic and electronic arpeggiation, tethering techno, industrial, ambient, and new age music to Blais’ solo piano essence.

The first single, roses, is a binary journey, softly oscillating between despair and hope. Oblique turns meet familiar resolve, as warm chords reference Radiohead’s Pyramid Song, and Eric Carmen / Celine Dion’s All By Myself, in sharp counterpoint to Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 2 – an unexpected, but intentional cross-hatching of high- and low-art. Its emotional arc – optimistic and funereal – closes soundly with the glint of cinematic strings.

Growing up in rural Quebec, Blais began writing original compositions by age 11, and by 17 was invited to the Trois-Rivières Music Conservatory. However, the constraints of formal training drew Blais off this musical course, putting aside his piano until years later, settling in Montreal, he rediscovered his love.

The result, as Blais’ body of work unfurls, is the creation of a new musical forum where freshly sounded notes bounce back instantly with the magic and wisdom of shared space. Dans ma main captures but one moment of this infinite lineage, but with it comes the reminder of all the energy we hold in our own hands, in this moment.

AGE RESTRICTION: This show is 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

PLEASE NOTE: This show now takes place at Low Four in Old Granada Studios. Please also note that there is no support act – with doors now opening at 8pm and Jean-Michel performing from 8.30pm. 

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.

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