Yann Tiersen – '∞ (Infinity)' - Cover- 2014


01. Slippery Stones
02. Midsummer Evening
03. Ar Maen Bihan
04. Lights
05. Grønjørð
06. Steinn
07. In Our Minds
08. The Crossing
09. Meteorite



Slippery footsteps in the mud. Misty breath coming from ones mouth in clear, very cold air. Blue skies, rocks and stones, glaciers and hot springs. The sound of rain pounding against window panes. This is Iceland, and everyone who hasn’t been, is yawning to explore its mystical secrets.

YANN TIERSEN, the talented multi-instrumentalist mostly recognized for his soundtrack to Amélie, originally only wanted to do a brief stopover in Iceland before returning to his home in France from an international tour. But, like many others before him, he fell for the island, its locals and beauty. The brief stop resulted in a two-months stay, in which he recorded what would be the foundation for his eight album, ∞ (Infinity): Slightly distorted sounds of childrens instruments, melodies of rain and storm, strangers singing on the streets of Reykjavik.

Intrigued by the deserted vegetations and fragrant bog, the thunderous storms and impressive waves, Tiersen continued his journey to the coast of Brittany, recorded in Cornwell and Devon, and travelled to the Faroe Islands. ∞ (Infinity) thus tells the story of islands and its inhabitants, but as he told NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION, since ‘islands are basically just rock and stones in the middle of the sea’, resulted to be all about the stuff they are made of – stones and minerals.

Listening to the album generates images in one’s mind – pictures of mountains, flood light horizons and impressive castles. It feels like a journey through frequently changing film settings, not only because one may have watched a little too many episodes of Game of Thrones recently, but also because TIERSEN is just known for his cinematic style. Still, this album can hardly be imagined as a movie soundtrack, but rather tells its own, very unique story. Many songs involve spoken parts in Icelandic (‘Steinn’), Breton (‘Ar Maen Bihan’), or Faroese (‘Grønjørd’) language, telling the stories and tales that surround the sparsely populated landscapes in the celtic sea. In between, the listener is lead through the distorted yet harmonic sounds of toy instruments – flutes, bells, tambourines – soft strings and the illuminating choral chants of Slippery Stones, A Midsummer Evening and Lights.

The album concludes with a moving story told by Aidan Moffat (ARAB STRAP), a rom-com between a boy and a girl in London, spoken in a calm but vigurous way, refined by Moffats scottish accent and backed by bell melody: ‘My heart could be a stone, my heart could be a spunge, this is the end’. Like love itself, this piece is beautiful and sad at the same time, and even in the burning temperatures of the past days, gives you goose-bumps when listening to it.

YANN TIERSEN‘s ‘∞ (Infinity)’ turned out to be exactly as expected: Powerful, sensitive and playful. This time hoewever, the record fights boredom by offering numerous stories, myths, sounds, and silences.

NBHAP Rating: 4/5