Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Jan 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The French Connection

music_YannTiersenComposer Yann Tiersen finds crossover success
In 2001, Amélie was the kind of movie which popularized the indie cinema archetype that’s been so prevalently peddled today by Fox Searchlight. And at the center of the movie’s emotional lift was its endearing, quirky score composed by Frenchman Yann Tiersen, who will bring his foreign arrangements to the Rio Theatre on Friday, April 16.

At the time Amélie came out, Tiersen was a complete unknown outside of France, and even within his own country was something of an up-and-comer despite having released three albums prior to Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain. However, the attention that the movie garnered, and the acclaim that Tiersen received for the soundtrack, pushed him into a new realm of critical success that is difficult to define, but undeniably influential.

“This huge success showed me that my music was a bit universal and not so discreet like most people believed it at this time,” explains Tiersen about his mainstream breakthrough. “Obviously it was a big surprise and a pleasure to see this … [and] quite embarrassing to be permanently glued to the movie because it only shows a part of myself and an age that was obviously evolving at the same time.”

Though Tiersen is often compared to minimalist composers such as Philip Glass and Jóhann Jóhannsson, in truth there is much more to his music than sleepy orchestral-imitating electronics. Tiersen makes frequent use of odd instrumentation, incorporating toy piano, harpsichord, and even typewriter sounds into his compositions. The Amélie soundtrack is dominated by accordion and the kind of sounds you might actually hear on a Parisian street corner.

These days Tiersen’s star has grown beyond the Amélie halo. The 39-year-old also crafted the score to another foreign film that’s become quite popular in America, Germany’s unification film Good Bye Lenin! This gig helped Tiersen solidify himself as a bohemian celebrity, becoming something of the apex of modern love compositions.

But beyond some of his more mainstream work, Tiersen has begun taking on some more atypical collaborations. Perhaps the most notable among these is a track called “The Best of Times,” a song which will be featured on the upcoming album Li(f)e by independent hip-hop artist Sage Francis, who coincidentally stops by the Catalyst in June.

“It was a track I already wrote for myself and that I was keeping for a next album, [Francis] just raps over it, but so nicely,” says Tiersen about the tune. “I think that Sage Francis does like this for all his tracks. I’m really glad that he chose one of my tracks without any wish to change it … I’m not a real [connoisseur] of hip-hop music but I know that Sage Francis is one of the most interesting and clever [rappers] coming from the USA.”

Another collaboration—one which required an actual face-to-face meeting—was when Tiersen worked with Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins. “I really wanted her for the Les Retrouvailles album and asked my executive producer if there was any possibilities to meet her,” explains Tiersen. “She already knew my work and was really open for doing it. I was impressed to work with her.”

Tiersen’s stop at the Rio is his last tune-up before heading out to the desert for the Coachella music festival. Though the Frenchman’s live shows differ greatly—wavering between full orchestral shows and intimate band-type sets—his music fits well in either setting. The Rio show promises to be the latter, smaller type of concert, which Tiersen seems to prefer.

He says that each type of show “brings different pleasures and performances and I really want for the future to do both and mix it if possible. My upcoming compositions will incorporate this wish to combine both setups and playing … from classical to rock or others, but playing with the sounds coming from the one with the other.”

 


Yann Tiersen performs at 8 p.m. Friday, April 16, at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $18.90. For more information, call 423-8209.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

Spread more kindness and compassion.