Benoît Pioulard

Guest Spots: Benoît Pioulard on three perfect moments in soundtracked travel

Benoît Pioulard: LastedBenoît Pioulard: Lasted (Kranky, 10/11/10)

Benoît Pioulard: “Sault”

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Releasing music under the name Benoît Pioulard is one Thomas Meluch, a Portland, Oregon-based ambient electronic artist. His most recent album, Lasted, is his third as Pioulard, but it’s just one of more than 10 releases for the long-independent 26-year-old who cut his teeth as a drummer in half a dozen bands. His lo-fi, pop-influenced compositions are driven by a fascination with natural sounds and the textures of decay. As someone tuned into his surroundings, Meluch describes three memorable moments in his travels where everything — time, place, and sound — came together perfectly.

A Plane, a Train, an Automobile: Three Perfect Moments in Soundtracked Travel
by Benoît Honore Pioulard

1: Loscil: “Rorschach” (Plume)
On a flight from Detroit to Portland, December 2008

In lieu of any kind of pharmaceutical calmative, I typically assemble a playlist of the slowest, most repetitive music that I can summon from my now-antique third-generation iPod when I travel. On one particular plane trip from a holiday visit with the fam, on my way back to the Pacific Northwest, I happened to put this Loscil track (hey, Scott!) in the mix and settled into my window seat over the wing.  Seat 14F, maybe?

Anyway, once the piece swelled to full volume, I noticed that the careful pace of the song was exactly in time with the flashing of the little light at the end of the wing.  Not “sort of,” not “a little bit,” but fucking exactly. And it remained so for the entire eight-ish-minute duration of the track, keeping me wholly mesmerized.  It was the kind of thing that I always want to happen when my blinker is on in the car and it syncs up with whatever’s on the stereo, but y’know it always fall out of phase.  It was perfect, and I get a little sad when I realize that something like that will probably never happen again. Alors, life goes on.

Morrow vs. Hajduch

Morrow vs. Hajduch: Cex’s Evargreaz EP

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Cex: EvargreazCex: Evargreaz casette EP (Automation, 12/7/10)

Cex: “Ily”
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Morrow: Rjyan Claybrook Kidwell has already spent more than a dozen years recording as Cex, his prolific electronic/IDM project.  Begun in his teenage years, the music has been intellectual yet inconsistent, jumping from guitar-topped glitch beats to nasally, half-sung vocals and raps.

Regardless of the vocals, which some view as a distraction, Kidwell has always made great music.  Whether it’s the purely electronic beginnings of 2000 album Role Model or the acoustically infused 2003 album Being Ridden, Cex has channeled the best of pioneering labels like Warp and Planet Mu.

Evargreaz is a four-track EP that was released in December.  (We’d note that it’s in advance of another full-length album, but he’s already since released another EP [Megamuse] that’s a preview of said full-length on Tigerbeat6 [Tiny Creature].)  It backs away from some of the dance elements of Bataille Royale, his 2009 album, instead offering more ambient IDM with overlapping time signatures and a solid blend of timbres.

100 Unheralded Albums from 2010

Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.