Watch // Listen
CONTEMPLATOR is the vision of sole/core creator Christian Pacaud, former touring/live member of technical metal outfit Augury, joined by a wide cast of friends and peers to collaborate on his visions. The project was founded in 2011 with a goal of forming an outlet to create music without compromise, drawing from all his influences without regard for respecting genre boundaries.
With Pacaud handling the songwriting/composing of the songs, and providing bass, guitars, programming, and more, Antoine Guertin (Aeternam, Hillward) joined on drums in the time leading up to the creation of the outfit’s eponymous EP, which saw release in August of 2013. By the time CONTEMPLATOR was creating its first full-length, 2016’s Sonance, Pacaud had expanded the cast of musicians to include Antoine Baril (Augury, From Dying Suns) and Maxime Rochefort (From Dying Suns) on guitars, violin/viola from Jeff Ball (composer team for the Steven Universe movies and animated TV series), among other guest musicians.
The second CONTEMPLATOR album, Morphose, expands the lineup of guests even further, with accordion from Austin Wintory (Grammy-nominated composer known for scoring the popular video games Journey, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and more), piano from Francis Grégoire (Universe Effects, Carl Mayotte), and marxophone from David Lawrie (London After Midnight).
Morphose was composed, arranged, and produced by Christian Pacaud, the guitars and drums were recorded and engineered by Antoine Baril at Hemisphere Studio with bass and additional guitars recorded and engineered by Pacaud. The violin and viola were recorded and engineered by Jeff Ball, piano was recorded and engineered by Serges Samson at LARC, marxophone was recorded and engineered by David Lawrie at Ishikawa Media, and accordion was recorded and engineered by Austin Wintory. The entire album was reamped, mixed, and mastered by Colin Marston at Menegroth, The Thousand Caves, then completed with artwork by Is Mirek and layout/design by Greg Meisenberg.
"Let’s cut straight to the point here – ‘Vestigial’ is a fantastic piece of work full on intrigue. With many moving parts and creative changes of feel and pace, the track will do much more than hold your interest throughout its near-five-minute duration. The bass work of Pacaud here is outstanding, building a solid foundation for the track to grow around, at times feeling like the vocalist of the band… Do yourself a favor and get to know the band before Morphose makes its way into the world!" - Everything Is Noise
"Morphose is an epic and ambitious set of songs, orchestrated and cinematic on the whole but harboring moments of intensity and crushing hugeness, at times feeling like an instrumental Opeth. There are elements of more spacious post-metal, material that feels more like a grand film score, and intense bursts of awe-inspiring power." - Treble
"'Heavy' or 'complex' are the wrong words one would use to describe CONTEMPLATOR. The more accurate way to describe them is 'cinematic.' Pacaud has a laundry list of progressive acts that influenced his music in his press releases (and Final Fantasy composer Nobou Umematsu), but the first band we’d compare them to is Fantomas. Mike Patton and company took several cues from Italian film scores when writing their music, and Morphose feels like the soundtrack to a horror film that never got made." - Metal Epidemic
"How does Pacaud find so much melodic resonance among the cacophony of technical metal passages? His alternating dynamics between distortion and clean mode are straight from the Stravinsky playbook, yet his fretless bass soloing over the top of Jeff Ball’s violins give it a filmic texture that would not be out of place in a new series of Bosch. Clearly, metal musicians appreciate the technical challenge of playing jazz, but do jazz musicians reciprocate when expanding their knowledge? On this evidence, Pacaud can be confident that they will." - Scream Blast Repeat