Benoit Pioulard – Precis (Kranky/Inertia)



Thomas Meluch isn’ French, though his pseudonym sounds it, and he isn’ British either, though his music sounds it. He’ 21 or 22, depending on whom you believe, and he lives in Michigan. This album slipped out right at the close of 2006, while still managing to find a spot on numerous Album Of The Year lists.

Precis is very impressive, though the impression is made slowly. It sounds similar to the wintry, electro/folk murmurings of Hood; or like The Clientele filtered through Christian Fennesz. It’s understated songwriting, though nevertheless sure of itself; fusing delicate, acoustic lamentations to patterns of static, touches of Kevin Shields-style feedback, and chiming, sun-dappled bells and field recordings.

Don’ clap your hands to your head and say “Dear God, no! Not another “sensitive’ folktronica artist – not yet. This album isn’ so easy to dismiss. It’s hard to highlight individual tracks from a work that’s been so carefully constructed as a whole, but here we go: “Triggering Back’ shows off Meluch’ feather-light tenor voice and grasp of melody, before it dovetails into the dusty, circular piano of “Moth Wings’. “Corpus Chant’s marries a precise harpsichord motif to electronic beats that fire like far-distant guns, while “Coup de Foudre’ is the album’ Krankiest piece: a decaying field recording that sounds like an outtake from a Set Fire To Flames album.

Every other track here is equally as good, if not better. It might take a dozen or more listens before Precis sounds gorgeous, rather than simply nice, but eventually, it does. And then it sticks.


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emmy likes cats, cooking, zines and anarchism. tea pots, typewriters and vinyl records make her happy.


  1. So true about it being a grower. I had a listen in a CD store in Newtown, Sydney and it didn’t strike a chord. I went back a couple of weeks later and listened again and liked it better but still wasn’t convinced, but i bought it anyway. I then took it home and 3-4 listens later it hit me.

    And now it gets a play once a week. It’s a great album to lie in a park on your own with a pair of good quality headphones. :)