Even in the Information Age, the world still hasn't become quite so small as people like to think. Otherwise, a talent like Yann Tiersen wouldn't have avoided international recognition for so long. French composer/multi-instrumentalist Tiersen is a classically trained musician who came of age in the post-punk era, and both of those musical worlds inform his work. Despite many years of high-profile solo albums, soundtracks, and collaborations with everyone from Jane Birkin to the Divine Comedy, Dust Lane is his first album for a U.S. label. It's a rich, moody, multi-layered work that finds Tiersen showing off his instrumental prowess and playing a wide array of instruments from strings to synthesizers on his haunting classical
ock compositions. Vocal-oriented tracks like "Fuck Me" show Tiersen's poppier side, achieving an infectious, anthemic sound somewhere between M83 and Broken Social Scene, while "Ashes" seems more in line with the extensive soundtrack work he's done in the past as it builds gradually from tension-building strings and horror-film piano plunking to fuzzed-out guitar squalls and choral vocal chants. The dominant feeling on Dust Lane, though, is that of an artist who reveres Ravel and the Swans in equal measure, as exemplified by "Dark Stuff" and "Palestine," where deeply muttered spoken vocals punctuate a dark, dramatic blend of driving, rock-derived rhythms, European folk modalities, and a symphonic brand of sonic conception that sets Tiersen apart from mere murky moodmeisters. Dust Lane is the kind of record that draws you into its own little world and sweeps you along with its journey, as unsettling as it is intriguing.