Benoît Pioulard

Gailes - Seventeen Words


Rafael Anton Irsarri and Benoît Pioulard previously combined as Orcas, in somewhat unexpected fashion with an accessible, gentle ambient post-rock sound - Benoît's soft voice floating on top of dreamy piano pieces and the distant plucks of distorted guitar strings. Rafael and Benoît's newest collaboration moves them deeper into more recognizable textured ambient territory as Gailes

Rafael is known as a great manipulator of sound design, sometimes creating pure ambient tracks from just one guitar; slowly degrading, stretching, looping sounds, and then manipulating some of the many pieces of analog equipment found within his studio in the woods of New York. 

Benoît's music isn't too far from this either. Gently shifting colors and static, create a warm press of hands on your shoulders as you slowly immerse yourself in the warmth and degradation to emit from his processed guitars.

Together, Seventeen Words is their masterclass in creating new worlds. The depth and detail felt across the four tracks is a new subterranean level they've yet to reach by themselves. Often with humble beginnings, each track will go on to unveil finer detail. In album opener Requiem For An Airport Television Newsreader, it's the choral wash of vocals wrapping around mountain peaks. In Surface Variations In The Snowfall, it's the dramatic growth and swells of ambience against an unsettling guitar shuffle.

The last track, On Distant Fields, puts a gentle lullaby in the foreground, like listening back to an old country and western tape, as the hiss and textures try to distract you from the heartbreaking string melody and slowly emerging vocal-cry. 

This is music for watching clouds slowly shape-shift. Music for watching ice-sheets slowly disintegrate into the blue abyss, and mountain avalanches in slow-motion. 

Available on 12" and digital through Badabing Records.


ASIP - Reflection on 2016


2016 was a busy year! The label started with the Arovane & Hior Chronik Remix EP, then Merrin Karras' glorious synthesizer piece, Apex. And more recently, the much-desired 36 album, The Infinity Room.  It was also a very sad year in many ways, with ASIP artist, Igor Bystrov aka Parks, passing away. The In Memory EP, featuring a collection of his works was also released, with all proceeds going to Igor's family. Thank you to everyone who supported the label and the artists throughout 2016 - I can't express how grateful I am to have such an amazing bunch of listeners and supporters.

It was an amazing year for music. I was overwhelmed for the most part, and didn't get round to writing about half as many albums as I would have liked to. But my yearly Reflections mix goes some way in helping soothe my guilt and pain. Featuring many of my favorite tracks from some of my favorite albums and releases from the year, it's my version of the infamous journo 'best-of' list but presented in the best way possible I start with a playlist including one track from every album I've enjoyed over the year, and then whittle it down, based on what sounds right in the mix and ultimately, what I've been listening to the most. It goes without saying, this only scrapes the surface of the many great albums and releases we've been treated to in 2016.

A quick run down of the inclusions in this years mix...

Sad Elron, the one track I spent the year looping, was the standout in one of this years best albums from Mark Pritchard. Bvdub surprised us with a selection of shorter-than-normal cuts, and potentially his best album yet. The Green Kingdom is this years under-the-radar gem, cutting up dubby-ambient and post-rock. Steve Hauschildt topped the year of the synthesizer, as did Phaeleh, with outstanding albums on both fronts. ASC made a sneaky retro-electronica appearance as Comit. Synkro enlisted the best for his remix EP - with Helios providing a glorious take, alongside a superb album of his own. Jesse Somfay returned after over 5-years with a unique and exciting new album. Segue turned in da-dub as usual on the ever-brilliant Silent Season. Isan made a return with their quirky melodic electronica. The Orb made an attempt to out-chill-out the Chill Out. Ametsub dropped a sneaky jazz-infused ambient piece. Tangent proved the newcomer of the year on n5MD. Jóhann Jóhannsson should be on the front-cover of Time magazine as man of the year with his outstanding score for Arrival and another complete masterpiece in Orphée. Heck got the remastering and reworking of choice by Field Rotation's Christopher Berg. Ocoeur got our year off to a stunner with his modern-classical masterpiece. Eluvium won the hearts of everyone with his operatic tearjerker. Drape kept Infraction's continually brilliant ambient output up-to-scratch. Warmth treated us to one of the years best ambient surprises. Deepchord turned in one of the years best remixes - out-ambienting Wolgang Voigt's flip. Benoit Pioulard broke his wrist and showed us how to remix Aphex Twin. Porya Hatami and Arovane joined forces once again book-ending their ASIP remix EP.  And lastly, as a special tribute, we end the mix on one of my favourite tracks by Park from 2009 - RIP.

And breathe. Enjoy the look back.



01. Mark Pritchard - Sad Alron [Under The Sun] (Warp)
02. Bvdub - 07 [Yours Are Stories Of Sadness] (Self)Read the review
03. The Green Kingdom - Haze Layers [Harbor] (Dronarivm) 
04. Steve Hauschildt - Time We Have [Strands] (Kranky) Read the review
05. Phaeleh - Frequency [Illusion of The Tale] (Undertow) Read the review
06. Comit - Under Your Spell [Trip 01] (Warm Communications) Read the review
07. Synkro - Midnight Sun (Helios Remix) [Changes Remix EP] (Apollo)
08. Jesse Somfay - Chorona (A Voice Like Sunshine) [Levamentum] (Tipping HandRead the review
09. Segue - Deep Valley [Over The Mountains] (Silent Season
10. Isan - Lace Murex [Glass Bird Movement] (MorrRead the review
11. The Orb - 4am Exhale [COW] (Kompakt)
12. Ametsub - Skydroppin' [Skydroppin' EP] (Blueberry Records)
13. Tangent - Perceived Horizon [Collapsing Horizons] (n5MD)
14. Jóhann Jóhannsson - Heptapod B [Arrival OST] (Deutschegrammophon)
15. Hecq - Night Falls (reworked by Christopher Berg) [Night Falls] (Hymen Records)
16. Ocoeur - Fixo 2 [Reversed] (n5MD) Read the review
17. Eluvium - Fugue State [False Readings On] (Temporary ResidenceRead the review / mix
18. Drape - Detrial Rest [Let There Water Air] (Infraction)
19. Helios - Land Father [Remembrance] (Unseen Music) Read the review
20. Warmth - Odessa [Essay] (Archives) Read the review / mix 
21. Peter Michael Hamel - Colours of Time [Reinterpreted] (Deepchord’s Carolina Forest Mix) Read the review
22. Benoit Pioulard - Stone In Focus [Radial] Read the review / mix
23. Porya Hatami & Arovane - iaan [Kaziwa] (Time Released Sound
24. Jóhann Jóhannsson - Flight From The City [Orphée] (Deutschegrammophon) Read the review
25. Parks - Eternal Wind [Hidden] (Infraction - 2009)

[Artwork / photo taken on a trip to Japan in August 2016]


Serein Presents: Orbital Planes & Passenger Trains Vol. 1


Known for bringing us releases by Brambles, Nest and even Hauschka in previous years, the UK label, Serein features a refined output so far, with many of its releases reaching notoriety in the modern-classical side of the ambient world. It's been a notably quiet 2016 for them, but now we know why. 

A new compilation titled Orbital Planes & Passenger Trains, the first in a new series, is billed as your new musical travel companion, presenting work by some of the "finest musical tour guides in the known universe". A quick look at the track list and you'd be hard-pushed to disagree.

Label veterans Brambles, Otto A Totland and Hidden Rivers make an appearance (the latter two forming the duo, Nest) alongside some new label imports in Benoît Pioulard, (listen to his isolatedmix), Silent Season regular Segue, Japan's finest in Ametsub (listen to his isolatedmix), and Dan Abrams, otherwise known as Shuttle 358

The music is as prestigious as you'd hoped given the expertise at hand. Some of the many highlights include Hidden Rivers superb glistening piece of electronica, What's Up G?;  to textured ambient from Donato Wharton and Pioulard; and the label's bread-and-butter modern classical from piano master-mind Otto A Totland. There's also a progression in the enigmatic sound of Brambles, who provides a modern-sounding cinematic score in Petrichor, as does The Balustrade Ensemble, albeit in a more experimental style. 

With Gas like textures and a lull of guitar plucks, offset by a simple piano, Dan Abrams' (Shuttle 358's) track Floating City, is more akin to a Pop Ambient masterpiece than anything you might have heard from him before. Certainly one of the highlights of the compilation and available to stream in full below.

Orbital Planes & Passenger Trains straddles the worlds and styles many of us love, fulfilling its goal of escapism - something I can definitely relate to with regards to the concept of ASIP.  Serein is best known for it's beautiful modern-classical output, yet this compilation seamlessly blends the attentiveness, delicacy and emotion of instrumental pieces, with a progressive electronic sound sprinkled throughout. Without a single weak track throughout, it turns a conventional modern-classical compilation into an accessible and thoroughly enjoyable piece for anyone looking to tune out. Window watch, pay attention to the soft black and white keys, creaking pedals, electronic undertones, field recordings and thought-provoking melodies and say hello to your new travel companion.

Orbital Planes & Passenger Trains will be available August 19th, on Download, CD, Double Vinyl and Limited Screen Print Edition here. There's also a lovely interactive site to explore the music at hand.

Lastly, Serein has been kind enough to offer ASIP readers an exclusive Bandcamp discount. Use "SERASIP15" on checkout for a 15% discount on this release and anything else in the Serein catalogue.

01. Otto A Totland - Selon
02. Brambles - Petrichor
03. Ametsub - Blue Loop
04. Hidden Rivers - What's Up G?
05. Dan Abrams - Floating City
06. Imprints - Roy
07. Benoît Pioulard - Alogia
08. Strië - 87 Billion Suns
09. Otto A Totland - Storfjord
10. Colorlist - Gone To Ground
11. The Balustrade Ensemble - Teeming
12. Donato Wharton - A Lightless Volume Of Water
13. Yui Onodera & Chihei Hatakeyama - Solaris
14. Segue - Frozen
15. The Inventors Of Aircraft - No Returns
16. Olan Mill ft Isnaj Dui - Zazen


1. Ant'lrd : Aplomb : Split
2. Andrew Chalk : Untitled : The River That Flows Into the Sands
3. Colin Stetson : This Bed of Shattered Bone : New History Warfare Vol. 3
4. Elvis Depressedly : Weird Honey : Holo Pleasures
5. Future 3 : Trmbns : With and Without
6. Warmth : Odessa : Essay
7. Memory Drawings : Sunstruck : Music for Another Loss
8. Markus Guentner : Baryon : Theia 
9. Saint Hildegard : Ave Generosa : A feather on the breath of God
10. E and I : A Perhaps Song : An Inch of Air
11. Chilly Gonzalez : Rideaux Lunaires : Solo Piano II
12. Zane Trow : Arcade : For Those Who Hear Actual Voices
13. Bibio : Wren Tails : A Mineral Love
14. Kyle Bobby Dunn : Duck-Faced Fantasy : Kyle Bobby Dunn and The Infinite Sadness
15. Benoît Pioulard : Madrigal : Radial

Benoît Pioulard | Web | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Facebook