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Yann Tiersen

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Biography

With his whimsical, melancholy music, Yann Tiersen has become a sought-after composer, not only for his soundtrack work, but in his own right. Borrowing from French folk music, chanson, musette waltz, and street music, as well as rock, avant-garde, and classical and minimalist influences, Tiersen's deceptively simple style has been likened to Chopin, Erik Satie, Philip Glass, and Michael Nyman. The Paris-based composer became popular outside his native country for his score to Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie, but like most seemingly overnight successes, he had been working for years before the film's success brought him international acclaim. Born in Brest in Brittany on June 23, 1970, Tiersen was raised in Rennes and made a name for himself as one of the star pupils at his local conservatory (despite middling academic grades). He studied violin and piano from the ages of 6 to 14, and eventually trained to be a conductor. However, Tiersen rebelled against his classical training and, inspired by the likes of Joy Division and the Stooges, played guitar with several local post-punk-influenced bands during his later teenage years. At the same time, Tiersen was also composing soundtracks for short films and accompaniment for plays. Several of these pieces ended up on his first album, Valse des Monstres, in 1995 and introduced his delicate but deeply emotional style; they also featured intricate arrangements incorporating instruments as varied as toy piano, banjo, harpsichord, melodica, and carillon, as well as piano and guitar. Tiersen played all of these instruments both in the studio and in concert, which gave his early one-man shows a theatrical appeal and earned him a spot performing in 1996's Avignon Festival. However, Valse des Monstres and its follow-up, 1996's Rue des Cascades, were largely ignored by the public and by critics. His third album, 1998's Phare, met a different fate; its single, "Monochrome," which was sung by French pop star Dominique A., was a radio hit and propelled the album, and Tiersen, to mainstream success in France. As Tiersen's acclaim grew, so did the scope of his records. That year's Black Sessions -- a live album of a radio performance -- featured collaborations with Dominique A. and the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, as well bands like Les Têtes Raides and the Married Monk, who also appeared on 1999's more rock-oriented album Tout Est Calme. Soon after, Tiersen was preparing his next album when he was contacted by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who wanted Tiersen to score his next movie, Amélie. Jeunet had heard Tiersen's music while driving and had been so taken with it that he bought all of Tiersen's albums. Previously, the composer had contributed music to films such as Alice et Martin and La Vie Rêvée des Anges, but this was his most prominent film work yet. His Amélie score featured new and old compositions, and the film's success spun off to Tiersen's music; the soundtrack sold over 200,000 copies in his homeland. His next proper album, 2001's Absente, featured collaborations with Lisa Germano, as well as longtime contributors Hannon and Dominique A., and also benefited from Amélie's success, selling 100,000 copies in France. Throughout 2001 and 2002, Tiersen embarked on his most ambitious tours of France and the U.K. to date; this tour was chronicled in 2003's live album C'Était Ici. Later that year, Tiersen's score for Good Bye Lenin! arrived. Tiersen spent the rest of the 2000s alternating between film and pop music, issuing the score to Les Retrouvailles and the collaboration Yann Tiersen & Shannon Wright in 2005. He also toured frequently, releasing a live album in 2006 and the Tabarly score in 2008. Dust Lane, an album focusing on mortality, arrived in 2010. Tiersen began a world tour in New York to support the album, and took a brief respite before jumping back into the studio. The single "Monuments" was released in July 2011 as an enticement for his next full-length, Skyline, which was released in Europe in October of that year and in the United States the following April. For 2014's post-rock-influenced ∞ (Infinity), Tiersen recorded in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Tiersen took a very different approach on 2016's Eusa: an album of solo piano pieces inspired by his home on the island of Ushant, it was preceded by a book of sheet music for its songs and a collection of field recordings featured on the finished product. He continued his celebration of Ushant -- and other locales dear to him -- with 2019's ALL. Recorded at the Eskal, a community center, performance space, and studio built in an abandoned discotheque, the album mixed field recordings from Brittany, England, and California and featured collaborators including Anna von Hausswolff. ~ Heather Phares
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   La Valse d'Amelie
  3.   Comptine d'un Autre Été
  4.   La Parade
  5.   Monochrome
  6.   Soir de Fete
  7.   The Crossing
  8.   Erc'h
  9.   Pell
  10.   La Valse des Monstres
  11.   Lights
  12.   Les Jours Tristes
  13.   Yuzin
  14.   Le Banquet
  15.   Hent V
  16.   A Midsummer Evening
  17.   Le Quartier
  18.   Guilty
  19.   Dernière
  20.   Point Zéro
  21.   1er Réveil Par Temps de Guerre
  22.   A Secret Place
  23.   Kala
  24.   La Noyee II
  25.   Rue des Cascades
  26.   Sur le Fil
  27.   J'y Suis Jamais Alle
  28.   Slippery Stones
  29.   Bagatelle
  30.   Si Tu Netais Pas La
  31.   Hesitation Wound
  32.   Hent II
  33.   Rue Des Cascades by Claire Pichet
  34.   Les deux pianos
  35.   Comptine Dun Autre Lapres Midi
  36.   La Dispute
  37.   Les Bras de Mer
  38.  
  39.   Ma France À Moi
  40.   La Valse des Vieux Os
  41.   Forgive Me
  42.   Kadoran
  43.   Monochrome by Gruff Rhys
  44.   Beure Kentañ
  45.   Prad
  46.   Heol
  47.   Usal Road
  48.   Tempelhof
  49.   Hent
  50.   Enez Nein
  51.   Hent VII
  52.   Hent VI
  53.   Lok Gweltz
  54.   Pern
  55.   Hent VII
  56.   Penn ar Lann
  57.   Kereon
  58.   Roc'h ar Vugale
  59.   Porz Goret
  60.   Meteorites
  61.   In Our Minds
  62.   Steinn
  63.   Grønjørd
  64.   Ar Maen Bihan
  65.   Comptine d'un autre été : la démarche
  66.   Vanishing Point
  67.   The Gutter
  68.   Monuments
  69.   Another Shore
  70.   Till the End
  71.   Dark Stuff
  72.   Chapter 19
  73.   Amy
  74.   Palestine
  75.   Atlantique Nord
  76.   La Longue Route
  77.   Au Dessous du Volcan
  78.   II
  79.   Naval
  80.   Les Bras de Mer
  81.   La Rade
  82.   Esther
  83.   Le Train
  84.   La Jetée
  85.   7: PM
  86.   Mary
  87.   La Plage
  88.   Le Jour de l'Ouverture
  89.   Les Enfants
  90.   A Ceux Qui Sont Malades Par Mer Calme
  91.   Plus D'Hiver
  92.   La Veillée
  93.   Loin des Villes
  94.   Western
  95.   Father and Mother
  96.   Father Is Late
  97.   Mother Will Die
  98.   Preparations For the Last TV Fake
  99.   Mother's Journey
  100.   Letters
  101.   Childhood (2)
  102.   Good Bye Lenin
  103.   I Saw Daddy Today
  104.   The Deutsch Mark Is Coming
  105.   Lara's Castle
  106.   The Decant Session
  107.   First Rendez-Vous
  108.   Dishes
  109.   Watching Lara
  110.   Childhood (1)
  111.   Summer 78
  112.   Février
  113.   Intro
  114.   L' Homme aux Bras Ballants
  115.   Le Fromveur
  116.   Le Quartier
  117.   La Rupture
  118.   La Crise
  119.   Plus au Sud
  120.   Deja Loin
  121.   La Terrasse
  122.   C'Etait Ici
  123.   Pas Si Simple
  124.   Le Moulin
  125.   Lautre Valse Damelie
  126.   La Noyée
  127.   Le Meridien
  128.   Le Jour D Avant (Live Version) (Bonus Track)
  129.   L Absente
  130.   A Quai
  131.   Point Mort
  132.   Introductory Movement
  133.   Kleier Lambaol
  134.   Erc'h by Ólavur Jákupsson
  135.   La Corde
  136.   Les Retrouvailles
  137.   Eire
  138.   IV
  139.   Stang al Laedroun
  140.   Bloavezhioù
  141.   Exit 25 Block 20
  142.   Fuck Me
  143.   Yellow
  144.   Gwennilied
  145.   1976
  146.   La Boulange
  147.   State of Shock
  148.   Hent I
  149.   Hent IV
  150.   8mm
  151.   The Trial
  152.   I'm Gonna Live Anyhow
  153.   Koad
  154.   Tabarly
  155.   La Maison
  156.   La Redécouverte
  157.   La Valse d'Amelie
  158.   Dust Lane
  159.   La Perceuse
  160.   La Rupture
  161.   Le Matin
  162.   Penn ar Roc'h
  163.   Ashes
  164.   Aon
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