Watch + Listen: Yann Tiersen’s New Video For ‘Ker Al Loch’ is a Stunning Abstraction of the Natural World
Above image by John Fisher
Though most people outside France first came to know of Yann Tiersen via his songs being featured in the soundtrack for the rapturously adored 2001 film Amelie, he recently told The Independent, “It had more of a negative impact instead of positive. The first time I saw the movie was in the cinema and it felt really personal, and weird. If I was asked to do it again, now I would say no.”
But considering the impressive scope and breadth of his work since then, he could very much be said to have had a great run of success at not actually chasing early success. And this August his 12th studio album, Kerber, is scheduled for release via Mute (he hasn’t done another soundtrack since 2008’s Tabarly), and he’s just delivered the first single, the mellifluous but exhilarating ‘Ker Al Loch.’ On first listen, the song is instantly evocative of nature itself, something that is admittedly a bit difficult to put into words.
Since most agree, however, that a picture can paint so many words (we’re not sure if it’s exactly a thousand, but it’s up there), Tiersen has given the song the ideal companion in the form of its visually arresting accompanying video. Starting with geographical imagery by LA-based artist Katy Ann Gilmore (who also created the album art), it’s meant to abstractly and almost ineffably evoke the coastline of Ushant, a French island – part of Brittany – at the Southwest end of the English Channel, actually the westernmost point of metropolitan France.
Director Sam Wiehl explains, “Using Gilmore’s [work] as a starting point, and further referencing the coastline of Ushant and the natural world, we created imagery, ranging from fantastical re-imagines of landscape, seas and atmospheric conditions, to the processes in microbiology and chemical reaction, to capture the beauty and scale of Tiersen’s composition.”
It’s one of those rare acts of abstraction that actually feels visceral, even immediate, and full of wonder. Or as Gilmore slightly more ethereally puts it, “I built up shapes that inhabit a new geography as they move through space towards infinity.”
So much for travel restrictions, then.
Yann Tiersen’s upcoming album Kerber is available for pre-order here.