When we fall asleep listening to Sonnet, the new album by Seattle’s Thomas Meluch, also known as Benoît Pioulard, we have lucid dreams where we are a cloud trying to decide the best time for rain. At a certain point, the sky turns this muted sort of puce color, and our cloud-body transitions from cumulus to stratus.
We partnered with London’s Visual Editions for Bedtime Stories, a series in London and tonight in DTLA where we invite some of our favorite writers with honey-colored voices to read aloud to us. We knew we wanted some musical accompaniment that was properly lulling without being a snooze (he he), and naturally, we turned to Thomas, whose albums on the venerable Kranky label have hit precisely that languid vibe since 2006. Thomas was generous enough to chat with us about cicadas, unsettling silences and how sound influences our inner and outer worlds.
Are there certain chords that are universally relaxing?
Probably — I mean, of course each person hears a given song in their own way based on their own experiences of sound and the ways in which their brain is wired, but certainly things that are harmonic are more pleasant than those that are dissonant, minor chords tend to engender more reflection and calmness than major ones, etc. Oliver Sacks talks about some people in his book Musicophilia who, no matter what, hear music as a bunch of clatter, like pots and pans. That sounds like a terrible curse.
Side B of the collaborative 7” Benoît Pioulard and I put out together on Wool Recordings earlier this spring.
The two-note repetitive chime throughout is a sample from the first Foxes in Fiction song I ever made using Ableton live when I was 18. The rest of the droney material in the background was made using electric guitar and various effect pedals, all recorded using the built in microphone on a 1980s VHS camcorder.
It would have been easy enough for Thomas Meluch to stick to the path that he’d established for his work as Benoît Pioulard; he may even have initially set out
to do so. From 2006’s Precis to
2013’s Hymnal, Meluch blended pretty,
lilting guitar and voice melodies with a hazy, prismatic production sense,
resulting in songs that could be intoxicating for their atmosphere as much as anything
else. With Sonnet, though, he’s
stripped away much of the song-like core of his other work, leaving an album
that’s more reminiscent of wavering radiance of early Eluvium and the
kaleidoscopic, weathered memoryscapes of Boards of Canada than any more
Burnt a shit tonne of cd’s for the move/roadtrip out to Victoria next friday. The girl I am driving with told me to tell her a ~12 hour long story with music so i decided to go back through my harddrive and basically compile music that has sentimental value and reminds me of a certain point of my life within the last 6 years. It turned into a 20 hour genre-less compilation of burnt discs with cut out super hero post card covers! Here’s disc 1;
1. Intro-Cloud Cult
2. Living On the Outside of Your Skin-Cloud Cult
3. Together & Down-Benoit Pioulard
4. Sensitive Kid-Cold War Kids
6. The Candle-Deep Puddle Dynamics
7. Playground Love-Air
8. Tyrant-Black Math Horseman
9. Dawn Chorus-Boards of Canada
10. Murder (Act III)-Cunninlynguists
11. Hello Popartz-Blockhead
13. Spinning Cotton Candy In a Shack Made of Shingles-Black Moth Super Rainbow