Yann Tiesen, now with a grand total of seven studio albums behind him, has reached quite prolific heights in recent years. Last year’s Dust Lane was a spellbinding melee of classical, post-rock and ambiance; an album that started out composedly with cyclical, almost romantic ruminations (yes even the aptly titled ‘Love Me/Fuck Me’), momentarily falling into darker, weightier tracks such as ‘Palestine’. His follow up Skyline, released earlier this week treads a similar path, expanding upon this dense output of synths and warped vocals, cocooned in a swell of strings and interchangable acoustic and electric guitars. Tiersen states it is a continuation of last year’s success, and while somewhat lighter in scope has drawn inspiration from a darker subject matter.
His live show at acclaimed Camden venue The Roundhouse could not have been a more fitting location, with its vast space and vaulted ceiling a unique space within which Tiersen’s variations and seamless meldings of genre were allowed to coagulate. Opening with ‘Till the End’, remarkably reworked, owing to a quicker tempo, and borrowing from the more electro and synth stylings of Skyline‘s tracks; the set focused heavily on a celebration of this new and as yet relatively unexplored niche for the French musician. Each track breathing with a life of its own; the triumph and exultance with which Tiersen’s trope of musicians explored their master’s unique vision only serving to forward the case that the recordings pail in the light of their live selves. Expertly detailed, and at times compelling complex their projection of tracks; whether in the staggering gusto of much loved contemporary classical numbers such as ‘Sur le Fil’, or the plaintive shoegaze of Skyline’s ”Monuments’; an autotune declaration midway between Sigur Ros and Mogwai; ran on a pure love of music and experimentation.
Despite rare moments when these new explorations seemed to fall short, as on ‘Exit 25 Block 20’; its vocal effect rasp so oddly juxtaposed with delicate instrumentation that it proved irksome, were few and far between. Tiersen’s new path, a natural progression from the anthemic jubilance of its predecessor, is just another example of how this talent can do no wrong, and with an encore featuring Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ a sign they don’t take themselves too seriously in these triumphs either.
photo credit: EARLIER.at