Yann Tiersen - Skyline
To some Yann Tiersen is an artist associated only with producing soundtracks. Providing musical backdrops to Amélie and Good Bye Lenin! certainly brought him to wider attention, he is more an artist who’s music has been used in soundtracks rather than a composer who takes film commissions. With Skyline, Tiersen has produced another studio album of original material. But will it win new converts and further dispel the soundtrack reputation?
Released a year after his previous album Dust Lane, we find Tiersen in a different emotional and musical territory. Whereas his last release was influenced by the deaths of both his mother and a close friend there is a sense that on Skyline his focus is more external. Just over half of the tracks contain vocals, delivered by Tiersen himself, apart from 'The Gutter' on which Gaelle Kerrien guests. Lyrically there is a suggestion that he is moving on: 'I’m Gonna Live Anyhow' is a short list of things he loves, bookended with the line “I’m gonna live anyhow until I die”; 'The Gutter' aspires to “move to the living world”.
This lyrical darkness is not matched by the album’s musical stylings. Here we find an artist in experimental, expansive and inventive form. In recent years Tiersen has reached beyond the piano, favouring a more guitar-led sound. This isn’t a 'rock' album by any means. It’s more accurate to describe it as a product of a man at home with a wide variety of musical instruments and its range is all the richer for it.
This is an idiosyncratic album - a product of an artist rather than committee. It’s avoidance of fitting into a musical template, whilst lauded by some may prevent it from attracting new listeners. Ironically, it may be when these songs are used in soundtracks that they will finally get the wider audience that they deserve.