Yann Tiersen - Portrait
Yann Tiersen - Portrait
Artist: Yann Tiersen
Label: Mute ‎– STUMM449
Country: France
Released: 2019-12-06
Genre: Contemporary
Ranking: 9.1


YANN TIERSEN has announced a new album, Portrait, acollection of 25 newly recorded tracks from throughout his career that includes three new songs, out on Mute on 6 December 2019. The album will be released on heavyweight triple vinyl, double CD, cassette and digitally. Both the clear and black vinyl editions of Portrait include an exclusive 7” with brand new alternative harpsichord versions of ‘Comptine d’Un Autre Été (L’Après-Midi)’ and ‘The Waltz of the Monsters’, unavailable elsewhere.

Recorded with musicians together live in The Eskal studio to 24 track 2 inch tape, mixed to stereo ¼ inch tape then mastered from tape to vinyl, the album is a fully analogue approach for Tiersen. “Limiting our ability to digitally manipulate, overdub or make changes after deciding a creative path gave an energy and beautiful tension to the recording process which I’d found was being lost with the limitless possibilities of digital recording. Not translating sounds into 1 and 0 keeps music in the real world.” The result is a vital album that fizzes with the excitement and energy found at a live concert, but packed into a studio album.

The reinterpretations for Portrait span Tiersen’s entire career: from his debut album The Waltz of the Monsters (1995) through to Dustlane (2010) and includes his most recent albums, EUSA and ALL. The album includes ‘Porz Goret’, ‘Rue des Cascades’, ‘Monochrome’, ‘Comptine d’Un Autre Été (L’ Après-Midi)’ and ‘La Dispute’, giving fans an opportunity to re-discover beloved tracks in what Tiersen considers to be their definitive versions.

Tiersen says “The apparent lightness or simplicity of some of my tracks has always been a disguise or reaction to their darker side. For instance ‘La Dispute’ is about extreme violence, blood, death and the strange state of shock you feel in the moments after something horrible has happened. That’s one of my darkest tracks and I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the idea of people thinking it’s a romantic thing to listen to on a date. People seemed to understand it when it was first released, but the use of my music for cinematic purposes put a sort of false mask on the face of the monster. I feel that Portrait puts my tracks in context again so people can listen to my music and see it for what it is and not for what it’s been used for.”

The original idea for the recordings came during rehearsals for Yann Tiersen’s ALL Tour, when Tiersen recognised how these new versions tied his career spanning setlist together and saw an opportunity to take the band into the new studio to record these new interpretations. For tracks from albums that were originally recorded in the 1990s on a cheap D.A.T digital recorder, this would be the first chance to record these tracks through a pure analogue path, from microphone, to tape, to vinyl, and for some of the more recent tracks, it was a chance to re-examine some of their themes and meanings and see how they relate to the earlier tracks. Throughout his career a sense of place has always been incredibly important to Tiersen’s work and this, along with his passion for Arne Naess and his concept of deep ecology have combined to give this album a powerful sense of passion and meaning.

For the original version of ‘Comptine d’Un Autre Été (L’Après-Midi)’, known by many for its inclusion in the 2001 film Amelie, Tiersen recorded an old, previously unreleased track for the director, but was never content with what he perceived as an heartless interpretation on a very cold digital recording. On this new recording, Tiersen explains, “I felt like I rediscovered the track again, and could play it in more of a personal way, linking it back to my own in life in Ushant. It’s good to have it back!” while on ‘The Waltz of the Monsters’, Tiersen records a completely different version with toy piano, harmonium and effects, giving the track an Italian horror film twist.


1-01 Introductory Movement
Featuring – Stephen O'Malley
1-02 The Long Road 2:19
1-03 Monochrome
Featuring – Gruff Rhys
1-04 Chapter 19 4:26
1-05 Rue de Cascades 6:22
1-06 The Old Man Still Wants It 1:48
1-07 Gwennilied
Featuring – Emilie Tiersen
1-08 Prad
Featuring – Stephen O'Malley
1-09 Diouz An Noz
Featuring – Emillie Tiersen, Ólavur Jákupsson
1-10 Porz Goret 4:18
1-11 La Dispute 3:41
1-12 Pell
Featuring – Emilie Tiersen
2-01 Erc'h
Featuring – Ólavur Jákupsson
2-02 The Wire (Sur Le Fill) 3:31
2-03 The Waltz of the Monsters 2:09
2-04 Closer
Featuring – Blonde Redhead
2-05 Naval 4:25
2-06 The Jetty 1:05
2-07 Koad
Featuring – Ólavur Jákupsson
2-08 Prayer No. 2 3:02
2-09 Gronjord
Featuring – Ólavur Jákupsson
2-10 Kala
Featuring – Ólavur Jákupsson
2-11 Comptine d’Un Autre Été (L’Après-Midi) 2:19
2-12 Tempelhof (Part 2) 1:00
2-13 Thinking Like a Mountain
Featuring – John Grant, Stephen O'Malley

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