"Sweetheart, wake up": Yann Tiersen

Christian K. and I had, it turns out, very little in common. In the height of our friendship I thought there was more (you know how it goes), but it all boiled down to about four things. One of them was Argentine Tango, which we both discovered that year, at about the same time- he became known for his intensity and sense of adventure on the dance floor, and I'm pretty sure he charmed every last one of us. Another thing was grammar. Christian was from Germany, attending a year at my American "uni-wer-sity", and he found my conversational English, generally clear of "like" and "y'know" and "um", refreshing. A third thing, as it turns out, was my friend Caitlin, although of course my relationship with her was/is considerably different! (And I hope I don't embarrass my good friend by referencing this- we were all crazy in love, if you recall, in 2009.)

We shared one other major interest, and that, you may have guessed, is music. It was probably Christian with whom I first danced a tango to the piano version of "La valse d'Amelie", and it was definitely Christian who passed to me my first taste of Yann Tiersen.

Yann Tiersen is a French composer/musician best known, perhaps, for his remarkable soundtrack to the equally remarkable film Amelie. As the story goes, he was a little musical prodigy as a kid until one day, sick of playing classical music, he simply smashed his violin to bits and took up guitar for a while. Luckily, he still plays the violin (beautifully) as well as the piano and a number of other instruments. His recent material is a kind of dark, heavily-layered, and foggy, as if progressive rock and alternative rock had a baby. I've heard it compared to Godspeed You! Black Emperor. His earlier work fits pretty easily under the classical handle, but it's classical music written for a contemporary pop-music audience- bright, whimsical, wistful, dreamy. I could listen to Yann Tiersen for days and days and not get tired of him. I saw him on tour for Dust Lane (released in 2010, show was in 2011- a dark, personal album about love and death) and it was one of the coolest and most different concerts I'd ever seen- it felt like having four walls of music built up around you as you stood still. He seemed so sweet and humble, a man of few words (specifically, "Thank you") with a scruffy face and worn out Converse kicks, who could make his instruments sigh and sing.

So wherever you are now, Christian, you crazy kid, I hope you're still dancing, and Tausend Dank. And while I am at it, I'll thank Mike H., who burned me the Amelie soundtrack, and Jacob D., who gave me more Tiersen than I could digest in six months. Almost.

And it is with great pleasure that I now turn it up on your radio (on my Spotify as "Sweetheart, Wake Up"), and you'll thank me later.

Yann Tiersen makes me wish I didn't suck so bad at playing the violin.
For Your Playlist: Side A
1. "The Neighborhood" from The Lighthouse/Everything Is Calm
2. "La valse d'Amelie (version orchestre)" from Amelie from Montmartre
3. "Summer Nursery Rhyme No. 2" from Rue des Cascades 
4. "Bagatelle" from L'absente

For Your Playlist: Side B
1. "Deja Loin" from C'etait Ici
2. "Sur le Fil" from C'etait Ici
3. "Au Dessous Du Volcan" from Tabarly
4. "Amy" from Dust Lane

1 comment:

  1. We went to that concert together! (even though I wasn't as much of a fan of the live experience) and no, not embarrassed :) Love the playlist!