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*Excerpts from the album. Now available from Experimedia.net.* Rather than explore a divergent array of moods, Benoit Pioulard has essentially done the opposite by burrowing deeper and becoming even more dedicated to his homespun approach that focuses equally on melody and texture. "Hymnal," his fourth full-length for the venerable Kranky label, finds him again delivering folk songs swathed in disfiguring systems – field recordings, tape decay, and effect pedals -- to hypnotic and often stunning effect. The highlights begin immediately with "Mercy," a song built on hiss-addled organ and dulcet vocals, and don't stop until "Foxtail" sways to a fitting close with echoing percussion and a deep bass undercurrent. In between two of Benoit Pioulard's most lucid songs ("Reliquary" and "Litiya") are augmented by trills of strings to add emotional depth and sonic intensity to "Hymnal." Nothing will surprise past listeners, but Benoit Pioulard has committed to a style that's too consistently rewarding to care. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia
"Hymnal is the fourth kranky album by Thomas Meluch under his musical alias Benoit Pioulard, following Précis (2006), Temper (2008) and Lasted (2010). It was written and recorded throughout a year spent in southeastern England and on the European mainland, during which the ubiquity of religious iconography and grandiose cathedrals became an unexpected muse. Raised as a Catholic but never especially pious, Meluch drew on this aspect of social history as the basis for Hymnal's 12 chapters. He notes a particular preoccupation with the ways that faith offers a sense of solace and belonging in an existence that inherently provides none, framed in a context of tradition, ritual and the notion of the eternal. Themes aside, Hymnal contains some of Meluch's most expansive instrumental works ('Knell', 'Gospel') and fully realized pop compositions ('Hawkeye', 'Reliquary', 'Margin'), making for a rich and dynamic long-playing arc. Also featured are string arrangements by kranky label mate Felix and guitar work from ambient maestro Kyle Bobby Dunn."
Release/catalogue number: krank178
Release date: Feb 28, 2013