Benoit Pioulard Hymnal

Benoit PioulardHymnal
7
As an artist who started his career creating amateur field recordings, Thomas Meluch (aka Benoît Pioulard) has continued to make music that incorporates the ambience and ambiguity of lo-fi, open-air recordings. On his fourth album proper, Hymnal, Benoît Pioulard allows his Catholic religion acquaintances to shape and influence the atmosphere and musical direction of these 12 songs, crafting a sort of experiential phonography. Alternating between minimal instrumental mediations and haunted folk sing-alongs, every moment of Hymnal fits together like some sort of lucid, fortuitous song cycle. Letting mantras, like broken piano transmission "Homily," blend into fully formed ideas, like broken speaker freak-folker "Excave," Meluch gives Hymnal its own imperfect, unfinished personality. An album about religion that's not at all religious, Benoît Pioulard refuses to come off as descriptive or thematic, making Hymnal an example of a mood piece that's designed to be affecting, but never static. (Kranky)