PREMIERE: Yann Tiersen Enlists Blonde Redhead for “Closer”

The French composer shares the latest cut from Portrait, out December 6.

It’s coming up on twenty years since most of us became familiar with Yann Tiersen through his contributions to the soundtrack for the arty French rom-com Amélie, though his discography proves that he’s kept busy in the meantime. In addition to scoring a handful of subsequent films—most notably Wolfgang Becker’s dramatic fall-of-the-Berlin-Wall sitcom Goodbye, Lenin!—he’s released several studio albums featuring collaborations with everyone from Jane Birkin to Danish baroque pop clan Efterklang. 

The latest of which, Portrait, also contains some familiar names: Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, The Czars’ John Grant, Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley—and, as we get to hear today, Blonde Redhead. “Closer” is a dreamy, piano-guided ballad matching Tiersen’s gentle symphonics with BR singer Kazu Makino’s shoegaze vocals. The track is one of three original songs on the record otherwise comprised of reworked Tiersen favs, though it fits neatly within the artist’s canon of modern classical compositions with the assistance of the iconic dream-pop trio.

“I was expecting to write new material for this album, that was always the plan,” Tiersen explains. “I had been working on this track for a long time and Emilie [Tiersen] suggested asking Blonde Redhead to sing the song, which was perfect. Unfortunately they couldn’t come to Ushant, so they sent files from New York and Italy. But it worked so well, it was almost as though they were there. I love this band, but we hadn’t met and we still haven’t! They are the exception on this album, but we will meet.”

Portrait is out on CD, cassette, and digital platform on December 6, followed by a heavyweight triple vinyl scheduled for release January 17, all via Mute Records. You can pre-order those here.


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