Yann Tiersen – Dust Lane

Release Date 04/10/2010 (Mute)

By Simon A. Morrison

Dust LaneAmélie is my second favourite movie of all time.  In case you’re interested, my first is Withnail & I and the third is Star Wars, so it’s sandwiched in some pretty good company. It’s a gorgeous movie, of course, and part of the delight is the soundtrack – quirky,pretty, French – much like Audrey Tatou, who played Amélie. The man behind that music is YannTiersen and I was absorbed enough by the music to buy the soundtrack to the movie at the time, and later to watch a live performance by Tiersen at a music festival in Rennes, in his homeland of France.

He’s a progressive kind of a composer: happy to involve anything from the accordion to a typewriter in his work, happy to draw on influences as varied as Erik Satie and Joy Division.

Dust Lane follows on from other long players such as Le Phare and Les Retrouvailles. His first for Warp, it’s a deep, reflective piece – by terms moody and joyous, contemplative and uplifting. For instance the movement and melody of ‘Ashes’ is wholly upbeat, whereas the wind blowing through ‘Dark Lane’ makes you feel like you’re alone, in a provincial French town square at four in the morning – just you and the accordion player sat opposite. Audrey Tatou is also nowhere to beseen – you’d never catch Amelie singing ‘Fuck Me’ – the song that ends the album.

Tracks on Dust Lane are darker, brasher than her soundtrack with distorted guitars, clunky piano and strange soundscapes.  However, the music is more engaging than you might think – slow burners, deceptively appealing.  It’s soundtrack music, the soundtrack to urbane evenings spent reading or thinking.  Yann himself says the album describes, “A journey on the dusty lane that leads us to death.”  Put it this way – he wouldn’t last long on The X Factor. And I can pay no higher compliment.

Yann Tiersen is touring the UK through October and November, and you can catch him in the rather splendid environs of Manchester’s cathedral on October 29th.

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