BENOIT PIOULARD: Lasted (Kranky)


Posted on Nov 26th 2010 12:34 am

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Benoît Pioulard: Lasted

Kranky 2010
14 Tracks. 40mins02secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Despite a very French-sounding name, Benoît Pioulard is actually the long-running solo project of Michigan-born Thomas Meluch. After a few self-released albums, Pioulard’s first commercial release, a seven inch single entitled Enge, came out on Moodgadget in 2005, and was followed less than a year later by his debut album, Précis, on Kranky. Under its gentle folk exteriors, this album ventured into more experimental electronic territories, creating an overall complex and contrasted soundtrack. This album was followed by a second, Temper, two years later, on which Meluch continued to develop his particular blend of songs and instrumentals. Since, there have been a handful of limited seven inch releases for Type, Hall Of Owls and Blue Flea, countless compilations appearances, a collaborative album with Praveen and a cassette mini album, Valley, which was recently issued on FM Dust.

With his third album, Lasted, Benoît Pioulard revives his delicate folk songs once again, draping them in dense layers of electronics, processed found sounds and progressive drones. Very much like its predecessors, Lasted appears to exist somewhere between reality and dreams, its soft-focussed melodies, smooth vocal layers and subtle acoustic arrangements, centered for the most past around guitar motifs, the concrete side to the much looser textural pieces.

The odd thing with Meluch’s songs is that, while they are often intricate sonic vignettes, with incredibly detailed backdrops, they tend to appear extremely basic and stripped down. These under-layers only come into focus through careful listening, giving the songs they adorn a much more pronounced relief. Sault for instance supplements its generous diet of acoustic guitar and breezy vocals with sombre textured drones and an organ motif, RTO and Lasted let the warm hues of a heavily filtered piano pierce through their catchy melodies, while the shamelessly poppy tune of Shouting Distance is given a slightly grainy patina of crackles and statics, a wide reverb plays with the sliding of fingers on guitar strings throughout Tack & Towers, and a chilling arctic wind covers Nod with a thick layer of frost, progressively ceasing the acoustic textures into a dense blanket of noise.

The more textural compositions are equally diverse and complex. Opening piece Purse Discuses is a wonderfully refined moment which elegantly combines field recordings and processed electronics, while Gloss takes on a more mysterious aspect, subjected to an intriguing noise progressing, and a tasteful aging render give Fluoresce, Weird Door and Passenger a warm organic glow.

Lasted doesn’t represent a major shift in style or approach from previous records. Instead, Meluch refines his soundscapes, sharpens his angles, and delves ever closer to details, rendering his songs and instrumentals ever more potent and vivid. This echoes the way his music works. Instead of obvious flourishes and gestures, Meluch favours delicate impressionist touches, making his records infinite treasure troves which are bound to reveal different facets of their character with each new listen.


Benoît Pioulard | Benoît Pioulard (MySpace) | Kranky
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Benoit Pioulard // “Lasted” from Church and Steak on Vimeo.

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One Response to “BENOIT PIOULARD: Lasted (Kranky)”

  1. […] published in 2008 as Praveen & Benoît, has released a number of singles, a further solo album, Lasted (2010) and contributed remixes for the likes of Mobius Band, Owen Pallett or A Sunny Day In […]