Release Date: Mar 31, 2015
Record label: Kranky
Genre(s): Electronic, Electronica, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Dream Pop, Post-Rock
Drone has always been a vital part of Thomas Meluch's music, whether working with Rafael Anton Irisarri as Orcas or on his own as Benoît Pioulard. The earliest Pioulard albums punctuated lovely folktronic pop songs with ambient interludes, which gained equal footing on later works like Hymnal. With Sonnet, Meluch goes even deeper into Benoît Pioulard's atmospheric side: While he was making the album, he removed the vocals from several tracks, letting their murky, tape-damaged acoustic guitars and electronics, which recall early Bibio and Boards of Canada as well as Orcas, speak for themselves.
Sonnet feels like a regeneration for Benoît Pioulard, the alias of Seattle-based Michigan transplant Thomas Meluch. The album contains elements of his prior work under the name—particularly its general tone of melancholy and disrepair—but he chooses to zone in on the drifty and (mostly) instrumental side of his music for this album. It’s a subtle shift but not an insignificant one—he sounds more confident and in control than on Hymnal, which veered closer to a grab-bag aesthetic.
For his fifth studio album, Thomas Meluch, aka Benoit Pioulard, returns to Chicago's Kranky label with a lush and vibrant collection of isolated drones, hazy ambience and crackling hiss. Recorded over the summer and autumn of 2013, the album retains a beautifully pastoral feeling, and one that throbs and aches with genuine emotion. Meluch stated that he removed vocals from some finished tracks as he was striving to 'leave only what felt absolutely essential' in the finished article, and so became an album based around the exploration of restraint.