Most of your American friends don't know composer Yann Tiersen by name.
But play a couple of ten-second clips from songs like the melancholy accordion-and-piano piece "La Dispute" or the waltz-y whirlwind lament "J'y Suis Jamais Allé" and your test subject will almost immediately identify him as "that guy who wrote the music for that funny little French rom-com, Amélie."
Now you can't blame les Américains for being ignorant. We love movies and television above all else. Sorry.
Still, it's a shocker that so few Stateside ears have met with Tiersen's 16-year-old trove of post-modern folk tunes. After all, the guy is a musical hero in his native France with over a dozen albums -- including 1998's breakthrough La Phare (The Lighthouse) -- and a reputation for collaborations with hipster icons like Jane Birkin and the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser.
On his most recent release, Dust Lane, Tiersen has tried again to overcome the U.S. audience's cineplex obsession. He started by signing to Epitaph's sister label Anti-, hiring Sigur Rós and M83 superproducer Ken Thomas, and adding synthesizers and electric guitars to his gear list, alongside the usual accordian, piano, violin, banjo, and toy noisemakers.
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And if that wasn't blatant enough for all of us popcorn junkies, the Frenchman offers the closing come-on "Fuck Me," a surprisingly stately synth ballad built around the refrain: "Fuck me, fuck me/Make me come again."
Yann Tiersen with S. Carey, presented by Rhythm Foundation. Wednesday, February 9. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $20 in advance via fla.vor.us, or $30 at the door. All ages. Call 305-672-5202 or visit rhythmfoundation.com.