There's nothing too rarified about “Il,” the title track from Jean-Michel Blais's upcoming album. Yes, the Quebec pianist's fingers thunder and graze across the keys with a dexterity that seems almost possessed, but their motions produce the kind of stark and accessible emotionality you'll hear wafting out of both ritzy concert halls and classic Playstation RPGs. Does that mean it's sentimental? Norm Macdonald once said something is not sentimental if it's true. And “Il” feels very true.
When we asked for his memories of writing the song, Jean-Michel sent us this: “Monday morning. 9 am. Sitting in front of that old but soulish piano in Montreal’s Dépanneur café, my numb fingers get loosened while people order their first sleepy drink. The frantic rhythm of their hurry footsteps mingles some turbulent arpeggios; their moments of daydream, a monotonous languor. And the cycle repeats itself, as a slowly wakening spring…”
Il is out April 8 via Arts & Crafts.