by Tarik Moody
Known primarily for soundtracking Amelie, Yann Tiersen is often mistaken for a film score composer, when in actuality the soundtrack for Amelie was a compilation of songs taken from Tiersen's first four studio albums. Yet there is the unavoidable presence of cinematic scope that permeates much of Tiersen's sonic palette, which often lends itself to vividly imaginable scenery that moves like the work of a great cinematographer. His new album ∞ (Infinity), which arrived on a few weeks back, is arguably Tiersen's most sprawling work to date. Employing the transcontinental lineage of Tiersen's life, ∞ (Infinity) evokes an array of scenery that traverses everything from a view of the aurora borealis in the tundra of Iceland to the poetics of the lust-drunk streets of London (“Meterorites”).
Throughout the record runs a thread of multiculturalism, which sporadically manifests itself through language. ∞ (Infinity) features four different languages (Faroese, English, Icelandic, Breton) all of which manage to find a common denominator in the natural world; this is undoubtably the prevailing theme of the album. Sonically ∞ (Infinity) fluctuates seamlessly between tonally shapeshifting ambience reminiscent of past collaborator Tim Hecker (“Infinity”) and delicately layered movements that are as much fractured pop-rock as they are a philharmonic homage. This dichotomy evolves into a perfect apogee on “The Crossing” and “Meterorites” where all the pieces that had previously confused, reveal themselves to be a part of a grand, chaotic balancing act.
You can see Tiersen play live at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago on the 7th of June