- 13 Jan 20
SELECTED AMBIENT WORKS FROM SOUNDTRACK MAESTRO
On Portrait, Yann Tiersen has – along with three new tracks – re-recorded select works from his 25-year career. Best known for film soundtracks like Amelie, Tiersen prefers to downplay the almost accidental nature of these works as secondary to his composing. The album is in some part an effort to re-contextualise many of the tracks, while also breathing new life into them.
Part of this process involved recording to analogue tape, while the core of the tracks were recorded live in order to preserve a certain immediacy, great effort being taken to avoid the exhaustingly endless choices offered by modern digital recording. Working with touring musicians Emilie Tiersen, Ólavur Jákupsson and Jens L Thomsen, and featuring tasteful collaborations with John Grant, Gruff Rhys, Stephen O'Malley and Blonde Redhead, Portrait is an impressive effort.
Building on deceptively simple piano motifs, Tiersen's work has a yearning quality that somehow expresses hope and resignation simultaneously. Quirky-yet-familiar melodies take frequent sidesteps into surprising diversions, from the devilish, Morricone-inspired 'The Waltz Of The Monsters' to frenetic, Aaron Copland-like canters on tunes such as 'Rue des Cascades' and 'Portrait No 2'. At times, it evokes an almost ironic Frenchness with its harmoniums and accordions. You can practically smell the Gauloises.
Despite his reservations, it's easy to see why Tiersen's music lends itself so well to cinema. Give Portrait a spin and make it the score to your own personal movie.