Published Oct 25, 2010Portland-based artist Benoit Pioulard (née Thomas Meluch) has been crafting unique, textural music with guitar, looping and vocals since 2001. This month, he released perhaps his strongest effort yet with Lasted, which sees Meluch exploring some of his most structured pop statements thus far. To celebrate, he's embarking on a full North American tour.
Though Meluch is no stranger to touring thanks to support slots with Windy & Carl and Eluvium, this is the first time he is completely alone out there on the road. "A really good friend of mine was going to come along for navigation and moral support, but he couldn't get work off," Meluch explains in a recent Exclaim! interview. "It's a long trek but it's good meditation time, just listening to records in the car. I've been handling it okay so far, but I don't want to speak too soon." Perhaps it's this meditation time that has allowed Meluch to adapt his deeply layered material into a live setting. "I had serious apprehensions about trying to translate what I record into a live setting for a long time," he explains. "I finally got nudged in the right direction and found a way to rehearse that I was satisfied with."
The biggest problem with adapting Lasted to a live performance is the fact that almost every song Meluch has ever recorded is in a different guitar tuning. After much experimentation, he's worked out about 13 pieces that will work with the same tuning configuration. That's plenty, when you consider that he only plays five or six songs in a 45-minute set. "There's a lot of looping and instrumental sections between songs, whereas recorded things are much more concise."
Aside from a song for the Moodgadget label and some loose recording sessions with friends, Meluch is unsure when we'll hear from his Benoit Pioulard moniker after this tour. "I've got no big plans, I'm probably going to take it easy [when the tour is over]," he explains. "There's usually a long stretch of time between recording something and releasing it before I get back to recording. I'm pretty excited to be out on the road and away from home, embracing contingency and all the things that are going to happen from day to day."
Beniot Pioulard's North American tour runs until November 17. Along the way, he'll make Canadian stops this week in London, Toronto and Montreal. All dates are below.
Lasted is out now on Kranky.
10/26 London, ON - The Practice Loft
10/27 Toronto, ON - Korova Plus
10/28 Montreal, QC - Casa Del Popolo
10/29 Burlington, VT - Monkeyhouse
10/30 Boston, MA - Spectacle
10/31 Providence, RI - The Barn
11/1 Brooklyn, NY - Littlefield
11/2 Philadelphia, PA - Inciting HQ
11/3 Richmond, VA - Ghost Print Gallery
11/4 Chapel Hill, NC - Nightlight
11/6 Houston, TX - The Joanna
11/7 Austin, TX - Salvage Vanguard Theater
11/10 Phoenix, AZ - Trunkspace
11/11 Los Angeles, CA - Historical Monument 157
11/14 Portland, OR - Valentine's
11/15 Seattle, WA - Nectar
11/16 Anacortes, WA - The Business
11/17 Seattle, WA - Healthy Times Fun Club