This Music Made Me

This Music Made Me: Yann Tiersen

Yann Tiersen Yann Tiersen will forever be associated with and remembered for Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s magical Amelie, in which his music was just about as big a character as Audrey Tautou’s titular ingenue.

With a direct rooting in traditional French music, from folk to chanson, the soundtrack remains Tiersen’s best-known work over a decade on, further soundtrack work – notably Goodbye Lenin! – and standalone albums that have underlined the multi-instrumental mastery that drives the Breton native’s vision notwithstanding. This year he released ∞ (Infinity) which was a case in point.

Yet anyone familiar only with Amelie approaching Tiersen’s music expecting more of the same will be in for something of a surprise. He’s long been associated with post-rock and fleshes out his song structures as much with guitar, synths, drums and bass as with music boxes, violins and accordions.

In selecting the albums – and a single – that have influenced him most, Yann Tiersen’s This Music Made Me underlines more than ever where his musical heritage lies…


Kraftwerk - Man Machine Neu! – Neu!

Hallogallo is one of my favourites on this album. I think it might be the perfect track ever! It’s really repetitive and everything just feels right, it feels like it just has the perfect harmonies going on between Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother. I used to spend hours listening to Neu! abums after gigs and would often have their music on while going to sleep.


Kraftwerk – The Man Machine

Man Machine is probably one of my favourite Kraftwerk albums. The first time I was listening to the album I really loved Neon Lights. It’s quite weird for Kraftwerk when you look at the rest of their discography because it’s quiet a poetic song, that’s not to say the others aren’t but it’s kind of strange compared to Autobahn or The Model. There’s something sweet about Neon Lights that I really love. I prefer the German version, Neon Licht. I actually really love all the German versions of Kraftwerk albums.


The Velvet Underground - The Velvet UndergroundSilver Apples – Silver Apples

I think this album is from 1967? It’s really early. Oscillations is one of my favourite tracks on the album, it’s the obvious one but it’s really very good. It’s almost unbelievable that these two guys were messing around with oscillators and drums and making these incredible sounds all the way back in 1967!


The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground

For me this is kind of the perfect album. All Tomorrow’s Parties I just remember listening to over and over and over. When I started properly listening to music as a teenager I was just listening to late ’80s/’90s stuff happening around me and then I remember being really impressed when I heard this older stuff. This is one of the first albums that made me think about production.


Echo & The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain

Hearing this was the first time I though strings can be cool. This is the album that brought me back to playing violin again. I really hated violin and strings and all classical stuff at that time and then I heard this album and just I thought, yeah why not, maybe violin’s not so bad.


Steve Reich - Drumming Steve Reich – Drumming

I love repetition so when I discovered Steve Reich and Drumming in particular it felt great to enter into this trance and as you listen to it you discover the time changes. With Steve Reich, everything he does makes sense, from his really early stuff through to what he’s doing now.


Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

This is my favourite album of all time. I think I’ve got five copies of it at home, on vinyl. I can’t put it into words, it’s just great in both the songwriting and the recording. Great.


New Order – Blue Monday

Not an album but…. This was such an amazing single at that time. I remember being in a doctors office and the music came on and it was Blue Monday. I was already a huge fan of New Order but I remember thinking it was crazy to have it on mainstream radio. For a song that’s so minimal, with the kick drum especially, to also be so mainstream.


Yann Tiersen’s new album ∞ (Infinity) is out now through Mute. Watch a Yann Tiersen live session from London’s Royal Festival Hall here. More information and tour dates can be found here.

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