French composer and musician, known mostly for the Amélie score, Yann Tiersen included Edinburgh in his Ninnog Summer Tour to perform at The Liquid Room. Offering both stripped-back, well-loved piano, plus bass-swelling and synth waves, no one was quite sure what to anticipate from Tiersen and partner Emilie Quinquis (aka QUINQUIS).
The Ninnog Summer Tour is unique in that the Breton artists have been touring by boat to make a direct political statement on the ecological impact of large-scale touring by plane, asking audiences and communities to invite them to perform in quaint venues, churches, community halls, along their boat route in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as Liverpool and the Faroe Islands.
Touring this way is for the fortunate that have time and the money to sail, though it’s not clear with this tour how they expect others to follow suit. The tour is to stick to an eight-aim commitment, including immersing themselves into the beauty of nature as well as resisting routine and exploring uncharted territory. It, therefore, seemed strange for them to perform in Edinburgh’s Liquid Room, where many bands are uniformly scheduled to play, but perhaps they are not aware they are conforming to routine.
The gig itself was nuanced and quirky. Revving us up for a night of composed scores, Tiersen initially took to the piano for three tracks; typically delicate and twee, with the sweet light-hearted and repetitive notes that we associate with his work.
His performance then altered drastically as harnessed his production tools to swerve from romantic piano to the swelling, darker bass-drops that indulged us further into the set.
The political values were there, and the formula was interesting, though I’d question the venue. St Mary’s Cathedral would’ve been a more interesting space to situate Tiersen and QUINQUIS. The performance was a brilliant concept, though not quite executed with the panache we would hope.