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Unearthed gem: “Cascades” by Jean-Michele Blais and CFCF

Unearthed gem:

Photo via Arts &Crafts

Some musical outputs are well worth the attention of as many ears as possible. However, many of these projects can get swept under the rug unbelievably fast. “Cascades,” the collaborative E.P. by Canadian pianist/composer Jean- Michele Blais and producer CFCF (Mike Silver) is a top-notch example of such an unfortunately common phenomena.

Released earlier this year, this five-song E.P. delivers half an hour’s worth of contemplative, atmospheric and at times ethereal pieces. Blais’ playing doesn’t take a back seat nor a central role, but instead takes part in a yin and yang relationship with Silver’s synth textures.

These stylistic choices result in a varied sonic journey that can snap the listener into a trance just as quickly as it can startle them with jarring melodies. Silver’s production cradles Blais’ gorgeous playing in a blanket of ambient and delicate noise. No other track showcases this combination better than the opener “Hasselblad 1.”

Blais’ mastery of the keys quickly comes into full force on the following track “Two Mirrors,” as the duo delves into captivating arpeggios played at breakneck speed.

The project carries through to a beautiful end, with songs like “Hypocrite” allowing for Silver’s contributions to take the limelight before concluding. 

Capping off this delightful release of brilliant minded improvisation is the nearly 11 minute “In a Landscape (Rework). “

Stunning music can be lost in the endless sea of instantly-accessible information, so it is crucial to dive into any intriguing musical discoveries one happens to stumble upon. “Cascades” is one that will hopefully pique interest with as many listeners as it deserves.

Listen to “Hypocrites” here:

By: John Pattee