Live Footage: Clintiss Performs “Toreador” at Studio Flagrant

Clintiss is Rennes, France-born, Montreal-based composer, pianist and singer/songwriter. He relocated to Montreal in 2012, where he started his career in earnest with stints in Charlie Dahl and the Royal Big Band and MoooN — and in both acts, the French-born, Canadian-based artist was the primary songwriting and frontperson.

Since then Clintiss has spent hundreds of hours at the piano, seeking the musical language that could reconcile and synthesize his classical training and his love of contemporary, popular music — i.e., indie rock, post rock and neoclassical, among others. “For me,” Clintiss explains, “composing a piano solo piece is the fruit of a long journey and a lot of hard work… My personal challenge was to create a piano language that I couldn’t manage to find or hear anywhere else, a fusion between the demanding classical technique and the different musical repertoires that have influenced me over the years – classical, symphonic, pop, electronic music… I hope to have succeeded in developing something unique, sometimes a little peculiar, straddling several worlds.”

The French-born, Canadian-based artist’s full-length debut Toreador was released last month. And interestingly, the 13 song album is informed by Clintiss’ own experiences straddling different cultures: The Rennes-born, Montreal-based pianist has spent about two-thirds of his life in Europe and about one-third of his life in Canada. Written and recorded over the course of the past two years, the album’s material evokes life over the past two years — a seemingly carefree and happier before, and the isolation and uncertainty of pandemic-related quarantines and lockdowns. But each composition also manages an opportunity to escape for a little bit, at least.

The French pianist, recently did a live session at ParisStudio Flagrant, where he performed material off his full-length debut, including the breathtakingly beautiful album title track “Toreador.” Centered around playing that’s simultaneously delicate yet forceful, “Toreador” is a twisting and turning composition that evokes — for me, at least — brisk winter afternoons wandering in the snow until the sun sets, and looking forward to warming your cold bones.