Benoît Pioulard, “Sonnet”
Listening to Sonnet, Thomas Meluch’s mostly instrumental fifth LP under the moniker Benoît Pioulard, at times feels like walking into a room recently vacated by Tim Hecker. The twin fragrances of reminiscence and mourning linger across the album’s forty-five minutes. But where Hecker’s granular textures constantly renovate themselves, Meluch’s changes are tidal. Rounded, looping tones rise and gently crest across the soundstage while sprites of guitar flash like distant comets. At times, the warm drones are confoundingly beautiful: “An Image Apart from Ourselves” could be the score to a Miyazaki short. After half an hour, though, the lulling effect of the swells begins to take its toll, and the album’s second half suffers for it. But in penultimate track “The Very Edge of Its Flame,” the swaying stops and Meluch’s signature analog grime is partially absorbed into a broad, clear sound. It’s a seven-minute sustained resolution, and it gives shape to the formlessness from which it springs.