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‘A Collection of Memory Palaces’ Yann Tiersen’s Eusa—A Review

Penn ar Roc’h is possibly my favourite from Eusa. I enjoyed  the self-referential style, or ‘self-nostalgia’ of the album; for Penn ar Roc’h, it was a glance (at 1 min 10s) towards Tiersen’s titular piece from the 2003 film Goodbye, Lenin!  Similarly, Lok Gweltz  borrows from Rue des Cascades. Borrows in memory, yet adds in time.

Borrowing in memory. Captivating nostalgia perfectly whether it be through sombre, soft tones of a piano or his fluid accordion playing, this time it is nostalgia blended in with the idea of location: positive memories of a place albeit tinted with personal sadness, or tragedy. If Tiersen’s previous music embodied running away from home, then Eusa is the retroactive slow race back, at Pern’s tempo, in middle age.

For me,  Eusa is a collection of memory palaces; a sorrowful collection of conversations next to a tree which paints the beauty of the surroundings, but does not tar. Memory palaces can be contradictory emotional places which are comfortable in their familiarity, however comment on the past and are thus a bellwether for the future. A curiosity to revisit these places is Eusa, to rediscover a lost love of a homely space: it is okay to love the transitory, the unwavering comfort of the sea even though permanence is denied us.

Only an island native can truly understand connections with an island environment, although Eusa provides commentary on much more, a desire for simplicity, even if mistaken, of long ago. In fact, I was reminded of a sentence from Yukio Mishima’s ‘The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea.’

He found himself in the strange predicament all sailors share: essentially he belonged neither to the land nor to the sea.

Neither to the land, nor to the sea.

Neither to the past, or the future did he belong.

For my late-night music hours—the hour in between finishing work and falling asleep—Tiersen’s music has often acted as an intermediary between my enjoyment of minimalist composers such as Glass, providing more uplift to the melancholy, yet with a more alluring melancholic than Einaudi, and so more thoughtful.

I’ll keep listening.

 

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