Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Review of Yann Tiersen’s Skyline and giveaway
FacebookWhilst perusing the shelves at Soundscapes on Saturday, was a little surprised to find Yann Tiersen’s latest Skyline – released last year in Europe and last week in North America – filed under “World Music”. Looking a bit closer, I saw that it was actually in a World Music subsection marked, “French Pop” which I suppose is technically accurate, but also not really. In fact, I’m glad it’s not my job to try and file Tiersen’s records because it’s something of an impossible task.
Sure, his arguably most famous work – the soundtrack to Amélie – is a gimme (soundtracks, if it wasn’t clear). A case could be made for filing the rest of his work alongside it; though they may not have been crafted to score any particular film, their cinematic scope is undeniable – Skyline opener “Another Shore” certainly seems like it was recorded straight to IMAX. And yet with its melodic richness and compact song structures, it would be understandable to head straight for the pop/rock section of your local music store, or “Alternative” if such segregation still exists. With its dreamy, widescreen ambitions and acoustic underpinnings, “Monuments” sounds like it could be an outtake from Mercury Rev’s “Deserter’s Songs” and if you traded the glider-esque guitars of “The Gutter” for some synths, it could pass for an M83 tune – and you wouldn’t file M83 under French Pop, would you?
None of which should be taken as implying that Tiersen lacks his own sonic identity; that Skyline hangs together so well despite covering so much stylistic ground is a real testament to his skills as a songwriter, composer, and bandleader. It’s the sort of record you could put on as shifting aural wallpaper or listen to intently over headphones and get something new and different out of each time. Maybe where you file it is a moot point since the best place for it is in your CD player or on your turntable.
The Sydney Morning Herald has an interview with Tiersen and he plays a video session for The Yellow Bird Project. Tiersen is in town at The Phoenix on May 2, and courtesy of Union Events, I have two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Yann Tiersen” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before midnight, April 29.
Whereas in North America, Sigur Rós’ contribution to the list of Record Store Day exclusives was their 2007 double-EP set Hvarf/Heim on vinyl, Europe got the first single from their next album Valtari on 10″ wax. The b-side of “Ekki Múkk” has turned up online as a stream, and while it is a non-album track, it does lend credence to reports that Valtari finds the band getting back in touch with their atmospheric side. Sigur Rós play Echo Beach on August 1.
Stream: Sigur Ros – “Kvistur”
Ane Brun has made her new single – a collaboration with José González – available to download. Her latest It All Starts With One gets a North American release on May 1 and she plays The Great Hall on May 10.
Niki & The Dove have released another new video from their debut Instinct. It has a European release date of May 14 and a North American one of August 7, but those on this side of the pond who are handy with computers can get it digitally/legitimately on May 15. Intreview also has a feature.
In what is I think their third visit to Toronto in less than as many years, Shonen Knife will be at the Hart House Quadrangle at University Of Toronto on August 23. Yes, that is an unusual venue. Exclaim has details on the tour, which is in support of their new record Pop Tune, out June 6.
Video: Shonen Knife – “Super Group”