Posts Tagged ‘Yann Tiersen’

Monday, April 23rd, 2012


Review of Yann Tiersen’s Skyline and giveaway

Photo via FacebookFacebookWhilst 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 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.

Stream: Yann Tiersen – “I’m Gonna Live Anyhow”
Video: Yann Tiersen – “The Gutter (skyline)”
Video: Yann Tiersen – “Monuments”
Video: Yann Tiersen – “Another Shore”
Video: Yann Tiersen – “The Trial”

The Toronto Star has an interview and NPR a World Cafe session with Of Monsters & Men.

Drowned In Sound has a stream of the Ólafur Arnalds/Nils Frahm collaborative EP which was released this weekend for Record Store Day.

Stream: Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm / Stare

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.

MP3: Ane Brun featuring José González – “Worship”

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.

Video: Niki & The Dove – “Hot Summer”

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”

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Curly Teeth

Review of Micachu & The Shapes’ Jewellery

Photo By Olly HearseyOlly HearseyThe announcement that London trio Micachu & The Shapes had been signed to Rough Trade came with a short video for the song “Lips”, and curious as to who this latest labelmate to faves like British Sea Power and Basia Bulat was, I gave it a spin. And after viewing the 90-second clip, the only response I could come up with was, “uh, what?”. It depicted a scruffy-looking trio with an androgynous-looking frontperson creating a racket that seemed willfully primitive, and yet you couldn’t deny how meticulously and precisely it was all assembled – a method to the madness indeed. My initial reaction was that I never wanted to hear this again. My second reaction was to hit the repeat button.

And Jewellery, the trio’s debut – out today in UK out April 7 in North America – follows much the same pattern, simultaneously repelling and addicting with a dozen tracks of no-fi, hip-hop, anti-pop seemingly built from found sounds, circuit-bent electronics, willfully abused junk shop instruments and the hollered vocals of Mica Levi. It sounds dementedly otherworldly at first, but with repeated listens it becomes clear that it’s very much of this world – just gleefully turned inside-out and upside-down but never straying too too far into abstractionism. It’s like it knows it can only be anti-pop if there’s still some pop in there, so for every obtuse sound collage like “Ship”, there’s an only slightly bizarro melodic gem like “Golden Phone”. And while it’s nice to be able to metaphorically come up for air with tunes like that, I’m as surprised as anyone that I’m actually eager to dive back down into the depths of musical confoundment. Don’t take this as a Damascene moment that finds me abandoning good, old-fashioned pop for a life in the musical outer fringes, but I think my horizons just got a little bit wider. Just a bit.

MBV Music is currently streaming the whole of the album for today only and it’s officially unofficial Micachu day there – keep checking in for thoughts and commentary on the record from the other contributors. Drowned In Sound has an interview with Levi conducted by Emmy The Great, I Like Music offers an annoyingly paginated feature and The Telegraph profiles the band and confirms that Levi really does know exactly what she’s doing, whether it sounds like it or not.

MP3: Micachu & The Shapes – “Lips”
Video: Micachu & The Shapes – “Lips”
Stream: Micachu & The Shapes / Jewellery

The Sun has a feature on Polly Scattergood, whose debut self-titled album is out in the UK today. The bad news is that the North American release date is still a couple months off – May 19 – but the good news is that it’s even getting a North American release, which hopefully implies some touring/promo on this side of the pond. I got a promo of the album last week and my initial enthusiasm has proven not to be misplaced in the least.

Scotland On Sunday sits down with Charlie Fink of Noah & The Whale about their new album The First Days Of Spring, set for release sometime around the last days of Spring, in June. They play the Mod Club on April 27 and support for that tour has been announced as Ferraby Lionheart and Anni Rossi.

MP3: Anni Rossi – “Ecology”
MP3: Anni Rossi – “Wheelpusher”

St Vincent has released the first MP3 from her new album Actor, out May 5.

MP3: St Vincent – “The Strangers”

And St Vincent’s will be teaming up with The National on a cover of Crooked Fingers’ “Sleep All Summer” for SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers, a cryptically-named compilation celebrating Merge Records’ 20th anniversary by means of cover songs. Details at Pitchfork. And while there’s no shortage of mouth-watering contributions on the album, this particular one jumped out at me because Dignity & Shame is by far my favourite Crooked Fingers record (and I love them all quite a bit) and Annie Clark and Matt Berninger are about as perfectly cast to step into Lara Meyerratken and Eric Bachmann’s shoes on this song as anyone on the planet. You can hear the original on the Crooked Fingers MySpace. The National are at the Kool Haus May 21, Crooked Fingers at Trinity-St Paul’s April 17 and 18.

PitchforkTV and NPR are offering video and audio, respectively, from Antony & The Johnsons’ recent concert in Washington DC. The Advocate has an interview.

Yes, they were here just last week but Asobi Seksu will be back on April 19 at the Mod Club as support for French composer Yann Tiersen, perhaps best known for his work scoring Amelie. Is it a pairing that makes any sense? I have no idea. But there it is. Tickets are $20 in advance.

Also in the “back so soon?” category, The Von Bondies – here in February at the Horseshoe – are back on May 29 for a gig at Lee’s Palace. Tickets for that will be $13.50.

MP3: The Von Bondies – “This Is Our Perfect Crime”
MP3: The Von Bondies – “Pale Bride”

Brooklyn’s Kevin Devine has a date at the El Mocambo on June 3. Tickets $11.

MP3: Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band – “Brother’s Blood”

And finally, U2 will be at the Rogers Centre on September 16.