Chilean drummer, composer, and producer Cristián Tamblay is a true jazz fusion artist, and he brings that to the table in his new 6-track EP, 'Exordium.'
Cristián Tamblay's name has swept the international jazz scene. He's collaborated with a ton of renowned names like Derek Sherinian, David Fiuczynski, Jesus Molina, Chuck Rainey, Lalah Hathaway, and many more. One could describe his sound as a unique blend of r&b, Jazz, rock, funk, Latin, pop, and classical.
On Tamblay's new EP, 'Exordium,' he takes his jazzy past and revives the genre with original compositions and lively, cinematic energy.
Hopping into the EP, we're greeted with the introductory track, "El Quinto Relato," which brightly opens with a stunning and energetic string arrangement alongside quick percussion breakdowns. This song feels like it's straight out of a movie soundtrack, not only because it's eight minutes long, but because of Cristián Tamblay's densely skilled composition abilities that feed the mind, body, and soul.
Moving into track number two, "Epiphany," Cristián Tamblay ups the groove and energy once more. This time around, he grooves his way through upbeat bass licks, jazzy piano melodies, a bright brass section, and offbeat percussion arrangements. It's quite a catchy piece that will definitely have listeners looking for the dancefloor. It also helps that Cristián Tamblay added a few breakdowns to really amplify his diverse production skills.
Drifting into track three, "Narrative Of Delusions," Cristián Tamblay takes a different approach on this track, similar to some sort of jazzy and upbeat sonic daydream. The theme of delusions is present without the need for lyrics, and Tamblay spins a web of exhilarating sonics that leave us in sweat. This diverse halfway track packs a ton of emotion and could be the soundtrack to someone's chaotic dreams.
Onto the EP's second half, we're met with "Spontaneity," alongside vocalist and rapper Tristan Simone. This song is a feast for the ears, not just because Simone's high-energy bars pound our speakers with heat, but because it all blends into this cerebral and cohesive mix. Cristián Tamblay tackles the sonic foreground with perfection while keeping the jazzy energy alive as Simone feeds us with fiery and conceptual bars.
Reaching track number five, "Ataraxia," Cristián Tamblay continues that same intense and heated jazzy energy with a few gentle woodwind breakdowns. This cinematic piece is a tad mysterious and floods the listener with moody emotions as Tamblay heats the scene with impressive jazz arrangements. A minimalist feel to this tune makes listeners focus on each instrumental on their own, offering quite a unique listening experience.
Reaching the EP's sixth and final track, "Opus Of A Fantasy," he wastes no time and feeds us all the energy and grooves our heart's desire. Tamblay uses all sorts of instrumentals in this piece, from drums and piano to brass and woodwind; it's truly a refreshing experience. This song feels like the end of a movie, knowing all characters got what they wanted, while an upbeat and jazzy soundtrack carries us to the credits with love, emotion, and authenticity.
Experience the musical mastery of Cristián Tamblay's new 6-track EP, 'Exordium,' now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Cristián Tamblay. We're truly impressed with the diverse arrangements you've delivered in your new EP 'Exordium.' Did anything or any moments inspire you to create this cinematic project?
Thank you for having me and for the kind words. Excitement and a certain feeling of unpredictability were definitely two of the main things I experienced when coming to Boston for the first time to study music, which motivated me to write this music. After my first year, back in 2018, I had time to process all the experiences lived, and probably one of the best things I did was translate those experiences into music. I already had some ideas laid down before starting writing, and that was certainly very helpful. It made the whole writing process a bit easier, and it gave me some time to be quite selective with the musicians I wanted for this music, who happened to be friends that I had just met back then at Berklee. Musically this record was strongly inspired by the music of Chick Corea, who I grew up listening to, and the music of Bela Bartók, whose music I was exposed to when I was finishing high school between 2015 and 2016. I attempted to blend some characters and some qualities from their music in terms of the arrangements and in terms of the styles of the whole record.
Did you want the listener to feel or think about anything after experiencing your new EP, 'Exordium'? What did you want them to take away?
I wanted the listener to hear an epic opening that would drive them into completely unknown stages within the passage of songs. Since it was my first record, I was approaching it with a sense of first exposure, the first “discourse” I was giving to the listener. Exordium is, in fact, an ‘introduction’. It is the very beginning stages of argument construction. One can, hopefully, hear the uplifting excitement with a combination of some doubtfulness, an implicit binary that is most times present at the commencement of a story.
What was it like working with Tristan Simone for "Spontaneity" on the EP Exordium?’ Why did you want to add an upbeat rap to the project?
Working with Tristan was an absolute pleasure. It all started when the amazing guitar player Pritesh Walia, who happens to be playing an outstanding solo on ‘Spontaneity’ and in many other tracks as well, had the idea of including a rapper on a vamp I was playing for him on the piano after a rehearsal we had for another project. I had some fundamentals, the harmony, the feel, the groove, except the melody, and I knew it needed something a bit different, but I didn’t know what that was exactly, not until Pritesh said, “that would sound great with a rapper on it”, then it clicked me. Back then, I was working with Rocket House, a Fusion band led by keyboardist Riccardo Gresino and guitarist Francesco Staccioli, and they had called this rapper Arturo (Tristan Simone), who I did not know, for one of the shows we were playing. I immediately loved his feel and swing in our first rehearsal, and I knew that, after Pritesh’s suggestion, Tristan had to be on this new song I was writing, and so it happened. A few weeks later, we had our first session, and it went pretty well. I had sent him a demo of the song a few days before the session, and he, later on, came up with the lyrics, and then the magic happened. It was all “on the spot” and very spontaneous, hence the song title.
What was the most challenging part about creating the 'Exordium' EP? What was difficult for you?
The whole recording process was probably the most challenging aspect of producing ‘Exordium’. I had the fortune of working with one of the most professional and dedicated engineers/producers I had met in Boston, Ivan Cheung. He really put a lot of love and effort into this entire project. Ivan engineered and produced the whole record as well as mixed the track ‘Ataraxia’. We even had to work remotely for some of the post-production processes once the pandemic hit, and that became another challenge for us. Nevertheless, we still made everything work. Although it took almost two years of mixing and revising each track, it was totally worth it since, sonically, the record ended up being amazing.
Which song from 'Exordium' is your personal favorite and why?
It is hard to pick a favorite. Each song has its own personality, and the whole purpose of the record was to present Jazz mixed with multiple other styles. However, if I had to pick one, it’d probably be ‘Ataraxia’ primarily because it is the only one that develops more dynamically and also because of the meaning behind it. Although the ancient Greek concept of Ataraxia varies among each philosophical paradigm, the main definition has to do with a state of absolute imperturbability from distress and worry. It is a necessary state to achieve Eudaimonia, what we know as happiness, which used to be understood as the ultimate purpose of an individual’s life. The song proposes a problem with this: the impossibility of achieving a state of absolute freedom from worry and disturbance. These are some crucial states of mind that give us the chance to perceive the wrong in our actions and then, hopefully, do something about it. So, there is this desire, a hope, that Ataraxia could eventually be possible, and this song impersonates that hope through its lyricism. This is what would make ‘Ataraxia’ my favorite track, but, again, each song has a lot to say.
What's next for you?
This year I’ve released two singles, ‘Sergio’ and a Sonata in D minor by Scarlatti. Now, I’m moving on to recording jazz standards featuring some of the best players I know and some excellent singers as well. I want to share with people how versatile musicians can be when playing ‘straight ahead’ or when accompanying a singer, and that is why these songs will have some very interesting arrangements. I’m also writing more original music for jazz ensembles and arranging some contemporary pieces for string quartets with a drum set, something that I’ve already done before, but this time I want to write some originals for the quartet. Personally, I’ll be moving to NYC for a year by the end of August to continue my music studies and to play with musicians around the New York scene as well. It’s been something I’ve been looking forward to lately. Very exciting things are coming up, that’s for sure.