Yann Tiersen inhabits a different world, one where it’s not an odd prospect to be caught dancing with the devil – a giggle behind a hand – where sonic spectres float free and things are layered, melded, booming bangs and subtle stirs, velvet cushions built for ears and French red wine fit for two.
Or perhaps only for one, for Tiersen works alone. He builds these creations – albums, others will know them as – and bends them to his every whim and he does it by himself in places dark and light, places brimming with inspiration, virtual notes posted on trees and in the way people walk, resulting in one man making albums and then taking them to others to reinterpret and bring to the people. “I do record the albums on my own,” Tiersen muses. “I like the contrast of being in the studio alone.”
Contrast is a fine word to use for it sums up the man’s music to a tee; it’s a veritable landslide of light and shade, layered as I mentioned, a living and breathing being that seems to pulse as you listen to it, you can almost see it waking from slumber. Skyline is the latest entity, and it heaves with some unseen Frenchness that I have trouble wrapping my brain around. Still, a solo project these creations begin as, then they’re taken to the Band – Tiersen isn’t a solo artist when it comes to performing – and they rework and take to the stage like a flock of scruffy geese. Oui, Oui.
“With Skyline, the songs are quite complex, so we’re able to play with them,” Tiersen explains on the transition his compositions undergo once they’ve been recorded and are ready for outside consumption. “We can make different versions that are quite close at the same time… it’s [actually] quite natural. It’s like being in a band and just coming to them with a song you’ve already written.” Indeed, except Tiersen has already recorded and released it – strange, no?
Not according to the man, it is as he says, natural, and has been over the course of his seven full-length creations thus far (not to mention a slew of EPs, live records and soundtracks).
Samuel J. Fell