By Jamie McNamara
Arts & Crafts
Cascades, the collaborative EP from Montreal producer CFCF and neo-classical pianist Jean-Michel Blais, is a confident musical mind-meld from two visionary musicians.
The duo first met while performing together for the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy. From there, the two came together for this EP that trends towards tasteful minimalism, but takes inspiration from ’90s trance and other electronic bombast. The result is songs like the EP-highlight “Hypocrite,” that blends grand piano with supersaw synths not seen since the days of trance raves. Another piece, “Spirit,” is reminiscent of James Blake, complete with an alluring piano melody and entrancing electronic haze in the background.
Throughout the five-track EP, CFCF and J-MB walk a thin line between classical form and electronic cheese. It’s a tough act to pull off, making it all the more impressive that Cascades is as good as it is. These songs probably won’t have long-lasting staying power, but they still make a case for bridging genre and mindful collaboration.