Yann Tiersen: Portrait review – Warm, repetitive radiancy

Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 05:30



Yann Tiersen



French composer Yann Tiersen first came to semi-mainstream notice through his soundtrack for the whimsical 2001 film Amelie, yet he had been around for years before that romantic oddity raised his profile. Classically trained in musical academies at Rennes, Nantes and Boulogne, at the age of 13 Tiersen deliberately broke his violin and then formed a rock band.

Claiming a certain non-affiliation with classical music is somewhat conflicting, however, as Portrait proves. A collection of more than 20 tracks from his career, all newly recorded (for reasons of analogue sonic quality, apparently), they ooze with a warm if repetitive radiancy that much minimalistic classical music benefits from.

Thankfully, a good measure of Portrait is of a collaborative, song-based nature, and while the non-appearance of work with Divine Comedy sticks out like a sore thumb, there are significant contributions from John Grant (Thinking Like a Mountain), Gruff Rhys (Monochrome), Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley (Prad) and Blonde Redhead (Closer). The end result approximates a best of without the over-familiarity; with judicious editing, it could even end up soundtracking a high-end pre-Christmas dinner party. Amaretto for me, thanks. yanntiersen.com