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Friday, 21 February 2014

Amelie Soundtrack – Yann Tiersen

Everyone knows that movie soundtracks are usually over-rated and ultimately disappointing outside the context of their movie. I like very few, but bizarrely Yann Tiersen’s Amelie soundtrack is perhaps one of the best. It’s years since I watched the film, but this collection of largely instrumental music has a life, vibrancy and atmosphere all of its own. It’s like a slow walk through a melancholy, rural France, but not in a Switchblade Romance scenario. It would possibly be better suited as the soundtrack to Rick Stein’s cookery show when he sailed across France on that barge. Or maybe not.

This is classically tinged French quirkiness. There’s pianos aplenty, ubiquitous accordions and the odd mandolin, all arranged in plinky-plonky, wind up jewelly box tunes or romaine fairground jigs. It’s a heady combination of frenchness, jollity and something more emotive. There’s a tangible sense that when you play these songs that you are transported to another world; a world of deserted French beaches and sad seaside towns but tantalisingly of our own introspection.

The sum of the tracks is definitely greater than their individual contributions, but worthy of a mention are the morose ‘La Valse d’Amelie’, the atmospheric ‘Le Moulin’ and the timeless charms of Al Bowlly’s ‘Guilty’. Best of all however, is the beautiful piano driven ballad ‘Comptine d’un Autre Ete’, better known as the soundtrack to the short film ‘The Piano’, the track again benefits from being given an identity in its own right.

If you sometimes find yourself dreaming of drifting across France in romanie caravan, meandering from village to village, eating croissants, drinking local red wine and chatting up Madam Marsaud, then this is the ideal soundtrack for your slumbers. If, on the other hand, you are actually a Roma traveller in France at the moment, then I doubt this is an adequate soundtrack for your predicament; I suggest Rage Against the Machine instead.   

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