Over the past decade-and-a-half, Thomas Meluch (aka Benoît Pioulard) has covered a lot of musical ground. The Washington-via-Michigan producer has averaged a release per year, tackling electronic, ambient, electroacoustic and even shoegaze and folk along the way but on his latest LP, the aptly titled The Benoît Pioulard Listening Matter, Meluch has focused on a subject that has seemed to elude him over the years: himself.
According to Pioulard, the album was recorded during a rough period in his life; the 13-track LP tackles such subjects as grief ("I Walked Into a Blackness and Built a Fire"), turmoil ("In-the-Vapor") and self-medication ("Narcologue"). Opening the record off with the bleary and antonymous electronics of "Initials B.P.," Pioulard goes on to fill the album with guitar strums and vulnerable vocal sighs, while distancing himself from his most recent work. Despite the themes covered throughout, tracks like "Defect" and "A Mantle for Charon" sound honourably optimistic and cheery as Pioulard's voice comes off clean, clear and often chatty, akin to the warbling vocals of the Beta Band's Steve Mason.
Surrounded by ambient hiss and faint female backing vocals, The Benoît Pioulard Listening Matter shows Pioulard expressing emotion through simple but intensely personal songwriting. (Kranky)