- Yann Tiersen
Dust Lane is the sixth studio album by Yann. Two years in the making, it was largely recorded on Yann’s current home of Ouessant, a small island off the coast of West Britanny, with further parts recorded on an island in the south Philippines and last touches and final mix at The Chairworks Studio in Castelford with producer Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós, M83, Dave Gahan).
Dust Lane features an extended cast. Joining on drums is Dave Collingwood, who Yann discovered while Collingwood’s band Gravenhurst were on tour in Paris. Another Bristolian, Matt Elliott – formerly of Third Eye Foundation, now a solo artist in his own right – contributes lugubrious vocals, notably on ‘Chapter 19′, the lyrics of which are based on an excerpt from Sexus, the first part of Henry Miller’s The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy. Breton singer Gaelle Kerrien duets with Yann on ‘Fuck Me’, a gentle closer where two lovers do the only sensible thing in the face of oblivion. “Fuck me, fuck me… make me come again,” they chorus, sweetly, over dancing banjo and mellotron.
Perhaps the most surprising development on Dust Lane is the presence of vintage synthesiser sounds. “I was a teenager during the late ’80s and ’90s and was a huge fan of analogue synth,” says Yann. “I have always tried to incorporate vintage electronic sounds that I liked in my music but for the exception of the [early electronic keyboard] Ondes Martenot, it never happened. I have several synths that I love so much at home. I started to spend my days in front of the beautiful knobs of my Prophet 5 and my Moog, and oh, miracle! It suddenly seemed natural to add their texture to Dust Lane, I really love the space they bring to the album.”
Elsewhere, on songs like ‘Amy’ and ‘Ashes’, Yann, Elliott, Kerrien and the band Syd Matters join up in warm chorus. Perhaps the album’s most stirring group efforts is ‘Palestine’, where voices spell out the title, over and over, atop a tide of sawing violin and racing drums. Implicitly, such a move is political, but in the context of Dust Lane, it feels personal too. “I ended my last tour in Gaza City, and realized that even in the most unfair situation there is hope,” says Yann. “It is when surrounded by mess and dust that everything comes to life again.”
And if there is a truth that lies at the heart of Dust Lane, that is it. Life may be fleeting, and death is the only inevitability; but hope springs eternal.