BENOIT HONORE PIOULARD: Plays Thelma (Desire Path Recordings)

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Posted on Nov 1st 2011 01:21 am

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Benoît Honoré Pioulard: Plays Thelma

BENOIT HONORE PIOULARD
Plays Thelma
PATHWAY003
Desire Path Recordings 2011
06 Tracks. 22mins54secs

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The universe created by Benoît Pioulard for his three albums, published on Kranky between 2006 and 2010, exists somewhere between dreams and reality. An elaborate sonic concoction which relies partly on hazy electronic soundscapes and field recordings, and partly on dreamy folk songs, his records have increasingly become poetic songbooks built around beautiful pastoral themes.

A former press officer for Ghostly International, Thomas Meluch adopted his French sounding alias for his musical ventures in the early 2000s, which first began to take shape with Enge, a single released on Moodgadget in 2005, but it is with his first album, Précis (2006), and its follow up, Temper, released two years later, that Benoît Pioulard truly established his uniquely evocative sound. Since, he has collaborated with Praveen Sharma on a mini album, Songs Spun Simla, 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 Glasgow.

His latest offering, the third release from vinyl-only imprint Desire Path, following efforts from Solo Andata and Kyle Bobby Dunn, differs somewhat from its predecessors, and not solely for the addition of a middle name to his guise. While the album was recorded at Meluch’s home, it is centred around an imaginary lake and the nature that surrounds it, and the impressions that such a place could leave on visitors. The music is intensely atmospheric, built from constantly changing drone-like formations which seem to evoke the slight variations in light this elusive place may be subjected to throughout the day and the year, and the impact this could have on the tones and colours of the surrounding vegetation.

Like a painter, Meluch applies touches with great care, arranging his sounds in exquisite formations, and mixing them expertly to get the balance between sound and texture exactly right. It is, for the most part, difficult to identify for definite any of his sound sources as he processes them fairly intensely, although electric guitars seem to form the bulk of the instrumentation here, in stretched form on A Land Which Has No End, or in ethereal swathes on Calder or Autochoral. At times, hints of field recordings or human voices can be heard, especially on opening piece Malick or on the beautiful Hushes Gasp.

Thelma doesn’t represent a massive departure from previous Benoît Pioulard records in the way Thomas Meluch manages this fine balance between reality and dreams, yet his approach is somewhat radically different here. This mini album is fuelled with the same pastoral beauty as its predecessors, but the music is much more contemplative and textural here, nested deep in Meluch’s imagination, yet wonderfully evocative.

4.6/5

 Benoit Pioulard | Desire Path Recordings
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Benoît Honoré Pioulard – Calder by desire path recordings

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  1. […] with two more well-received releases under its belt, Kyle Bobby Dunn’s Ways of Meaning and Benoît Honoré Pioulard Plays Thelma, DPR has begun to solidify its reputation within the hierarchy of experimental labels alongside […]