I used to find it impossible to fall asleep without my iPod. To make the transition from consciousness to the depths of the recovering darkness required floating melodies, pianissimos, a steady beat. Like a newborn, I needed a lullaby.
This has changed. Except on my rare occasions of insomnia, I generally conk out before midnight. Sometimes 11. (I am a morning person.) If I do need something to send me to sleep, a little Jane Austen (or more recently, Steinbeck) will do the trick nicely.
When I travel though, plane (rare,) train (rarer,) or bus (almost as frequently as car lately…) anything over half an hour leads to a doze. And the old iPod habits come back into play. A task which Yann Tiersen fulfills quite well.
I became obsessed with Yann Tiersen a few years ago when my then piano teacher placed Comptine d’Un Autre Ete: L’Apres Midi in front of me. I was so intriqued by the subtle changes in dynamics, the slightly declamatory rhythm, the cadenza like arpeggios, that I rushed oout and bought Amelie for the sole reason of hearing more. (On a sidenote: Amelie turned out to be one of the best things I ever bought.) The obsession has only grown through hearing more of his repertoire, even to the point where, as I layed his pieces in school, my music teacher would refer to Tiersen as “my french guy.” His CD became one of my prize possessions (although I later parted with to give as a final gift to my French teacher on leaving school.) In a world of modern composition, Yann Tiersen is definitely up there with the best.