Classical music had its heyday at the end of the 18th century and some might say that it's overdue for a redesign. Toronto-based composer/producer/musician Todor Kobakov is preparing to do just that with his debut solo classical piano album, Pop Music. And with guests including TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and Metric's Emily Haines, the album has the makings of a classical piano album with indie cred.
It's fitting considering Kobakov has been an integral part of the Toronto indie rock scene for close to a decade, previously collaborating with Haines, Stars, Sarah Slean, Luke Doucet, Small Sins and Major Maker.
While brainstorming ideas for his debut solo project, Kobakov had a sudden longing to return to his roots and reconnect with the first half of his life, when he was studying at Bulgaria's prestigious Sofia School of Music before immigrating to Canada at the age of 16. This led the musician to pursue a classical piano album as his next project.
Though the title might throw some off, Kobakov says that classical music is like pop music for many people in his homeland of Bulgaria. Composed over a six-month period on piano, Kobakov says he also took a pop approach to the songwriting, focusing on melody and the guest vocals, restricting the songs to between three and five minutes in length.
"The intention was to make a classical album that combined both worlds ... my life as an Eastern European and my life as a Canadian," he says in the press release. "The classical elements pay homage to my life in Bulgaria and more importantly, to my mother. The modern elements are a reflection of my time in Canada."
Toronto's Best Keyboardist, according to Now Weekly in 2007, Kobakov explains the involvement of indie rock royalty Adebimpe and Haines is to shed extra light on the project so as to "bring the music to an audience that might otherwise not give it a chance, and to do it in a way that's fresh."
"I have a ton of respect for Emily and Tunde," said Kobakov, "they were the only voices I envisioned on the album. I wrote the pieces for them and I'm very grateful for their contributions."
Keep an eye out for Pop Music when Calibre 88 drops it in stores on October 13.