Thomas Meluch has silently become one of Portland's most prolific producers of hushed, blissed out pop music under his pseudonym, Benoit Pioulard. It's worth checking on the the project's website at least once a month. I made my habitual round today and found out that he just released a short acoustic EP earlier this month called Lyon after the French city where it was recorded. The four songs on the record have all appeared in more expansive settings on previous releases, but here we find Meluch performing just with his voice and an acoustic guitar. It's available as a pay-what-you-want download on Pioulard's Bandcamp page.
Hearing these songs stripped to their chords and lyrics highlight a polarity in Benoit Pioulard's music. If you hadn't heard this music before, you would might think Meluch was a pretty minimalist singer/songwriter. And this wouldn't necessarily be wrong. You would just be missing a whole side of the sound—the gorgeous, carefully constructed noise that plays a significant part in the identity of Benoit Pioulard. These sonic elements are so ingrained in the project that they feel suggested in these bare recordings. Though while he often finds room for instrumental noise pieces and drones on many of his records, it's nice to hear something that shows Meluch revealing himself as a pretty traditional songwriter. This might sound obvious, but it's often easy to forget these things in the washes of sound.
For those pining for Pioulard's ambient-experimental side, he has another release coming on November 1 (via Desire Path Recordings) titled Benoît Honoré Pioulard Plays Thelma that leans heavily in this direction. There will only be 300 copies of this on 12-inch vinyl so act fast.
Here's a cut from Lyon:
Benoit Pioulard - "Ailleurs" (acoustic)
Benoit Pioulard performs at Holocene on November 12 with A Winged Victory for the Sullen.