Benoit Pioulard

Thesis Collected 01 - album stream

 
thesisproject.jpg

May of last year we featured Gregory Euclide's Thesis Project here on ASIP, detailing the extensive craftsmanship and consideration that goes into each hand-made release. Since our words with Gregory, the series has gone on to host even more beautiful collaborations and some of my favorites of the project so far, including Rafael Anton Irisarri & Julia Barwick, and Anna Rose Carter & Dag Rosenqvist. Gregory's hands have not stopped cutting, shaping, producing, curating, packing and presenting ever since... 

Once you've amassed such an amazing collection of music, and poured hours over each release, I can imagine it being nearly impossible to not feel the urge to present it as a full compilation and unlock some of the beauty for more people to hear; as both an ode to the many artists featured so far, and a release that would no doubt stand on its own.  So here we are, with an exclusive stream of the full compilation below.  

Given these releases are only ever made available as physical items, this compilation is a first for the project and a blessing for anyone that's maybe not lucky enough to own a turntable, but wanted to get their ears on some of the beautiful music and artists featured within. 

It's only really when you read through the powerhouse of names that feature across the series such as; Julia Kent, Loscil, Dustin O'Halloran, Taylor Deupree, RAI, Benoît Pioulard and Kyle Bobby Dunn, that you are hit with how special this project is both its effort and curation. 

THESIS COLLECTED 01 is available as both a limited CD version and digital, and contains one track from each of the first 12 THESIS releases as well as two tracks from THESIS PRINT/TRACK 02 & 04. Along with a bonus track from THESIS PRINT/TRACK 01 (available only on the digital version). 

Read more about the full series in our interview from last year here, or dive into the full project at https://thesisproject.us.

Thesis Collected 01 is available on CD + Digital at Bandcamp.

Tracklist:

01 | Refém | Will Samson | PRINT/TRACK 02
02 | The Iron Town | S. Carey & Taylor Deupree | THESIS 01
03 | Snowfall/Hibernate | Tony Dekker & Kinbrae | THESIS 09
04 | Earth Bound | Sophie Hutchings & Julia Kent | THESIS 06
05 | Viscous | Loscil & Seabuckthorn | THESIS 02
06 | Prism | Anna Rose Carter & Dag Rosenqvist | THESIS 05
07 | Limehouse | Angus MacRae & InsaDonjaKai | THESIS 07
08 | A Pretty A Day | Benoît Pioulard & Dustin O’Halloran | THESIS 04
09 | B2 | Julianna Barwick & Rafael Anton Irisarri | THESIS 10
10 | Carried to a Place Unwinding | Aaron Martin & Tilman Robinson | THESIS 11
11 | Salve Regina | Kyle Bobby Dunn | PRINT/TRACK 04
12 | Early James | Andrew Hargreaves & Andrew Johnson | THESIS 13
13 | Rigor | Takeshi Nishimoto & Roger Döring | THESIS 03

 

The Thesis Project: a lesson in craft

 

We're big fans of craft when it comes to physical releases. We've gone so far as creating custom wooden CD and vinyl cases for previous releases here at ASIP, and often spend more time discussing artwork than the actual music when it comes to each release. So to see Gregory Euclide pushing forward a truly custom take on physical vinyl releases, we wanted to find out more, especially given the music at hand. 

The Thesis Project was triggered by a deep desire to bring something valuable back into a world of fast consumption, as Gregory began during a recent twitter conversation: "music has always been an object and not just files on a device. I wanted to make music physical, unique and precious again". As an artist behind some well known releases from Erased Tapes and Lubomyr Melnyk, this was Gregory's chance to combine his passion for art and music: "I see the world in musical terms... everything has a sound. Colors, movements... every sound has an action... and that is where I worked for a long time. I was making music with my pencils and brushes. I think it is pretty common for artists to have this connection. I tried to play music when I was in high school and college. I'm not mathematically gifted. I really struggle with it. So, my college music theory class was really hard for me. I think I thought it was out of the picture for me... to be involved in music in any other capacity than a consumer. I did a few album covers for musicians I really respected, but I still felt outside of it all.

When I think about my practice as an artist, I often try to mirror that of the music world. I like how musicians can have different projects, with different names. Artists always seem to be... just them, their name and they have to be consistent. Basically, my move to music through Thesis Project was a move away from the traditional idea of being an artist".

As with all deep desires and ambitions, it took a couple of real-life moments to push Gregory to begin the Thesis Project. Whilst attending a Vic Chestnutt concert, Gregory started wondering how much it would cost to commission a song from such an artist, after which he received a grant from the McKnight Foundation for his artwork, and decided to take his work into a new direction:

"I decided I would start asking musicians that I know if they would like to work on a project. When I am listening to certain musicians I think 'this would be really cool with this or that.' I started thinking about the idea of collaboration as a way to push something forward".

The Thesis Project was born, with the premise to combine two artists who have never worked together before and create a beautifully packaged, and custom release, with each sleeve laser-cut and etched by Gregory himself. Whilst this may seem like a tall ambition, given each piece would be custom and limited to 300 pieces, Gregory knew this was the only way he would be able to fulfill his burning ambition for the project.

"I don't really like the idea of me being the only visual artist for the project. One goal of the project was to try and compensate the artists well. Pay them up front and then give whatever extra is left from sales. This seems to be a successful model as musicians I have spoken with like the arrangement. In order for me to do that I have to do much of the artwork. I make each jacket and sleeve from scratch as well as make each of the unique covers. If I had to pay another artist to do that it would not be possible. So, for now, I'm doing it. I hope people don't get sick of it or think it is an ego thing".

I asked Gregory why he feels each piece needs to be unique, after all, from my experience, a premium, differentiated and highly-considered piece of artwork is enough to make something much more valuable in today's world. But his desire to create something individual stemmed from a desire to go against today's mainstream approach to music. It's his way of giving back to the artists, and to the listener, and leaving something truly unique in the world. 

"Handmade is not a big deal to me in general. If something can be made better with a machine... I think, why not use that. When it comes to music it is different. Much of the project's concept comes as a reaction to my own life. I was eating up albums, buying them online, listening to them, buying more... downloading and downloading. I didn't even know what I had and what I didn't have. I wanted it everywhere. I wanted it free or cheep. It was gross. I wanted to pay attention again. To know the names of songs, to stop and listen, not just have it on as I was doing things. So, I decided it was going to be vinyl only. No streaming. No downloading. No on the go. The process of making the album covers takes over 2 hours a piece. I cut the paper, run the sleeve through the laser cutter, put a drawing on the sleeve, spray a stencil over the drawing, fold and glue the sleeve. I cut the paper, run the jacket through the laser cutter, put a unique painting on the cover, fold and glue the jacket. It is hard work. It is my way to make something that is the opposite of Spotify. It is my payment to the artists. To give them something unique. It is my payment to the music. Music can be turned into 10100001100010110101 and duplicated and deleted and downloaded again and so on. But I wanted to make something that people are careful with. I don't want it to be goofy or over the top. Just hand made because I care".

A wide spectrum of ambient, experimental and alternative stars have been a part of the project so far. Taylor Deupree and Sean Carey (of Bon Iver) graced the Thesis Project's first release, with Loscil & Seabuckthorn following, Sonic Pieces' Takeshi Nishimoto & City Centre Offices' Roger Döring (Dictaphone), Dustin O´Halloran* & Benoît Pioulard, gracing the catalog so far. As if that wasn't enough, the project has also announced collaborations between some ASIP favorites (and artists) including Rafael Anton Irisarri & Julianna Barwick, and Michael Price (Erased Tapes) & Christoph Berg and (it just keeps going), Eluvium & Marcus Fischer. If that list of artist collaborations isn't enough to persuade you of the project's ambition and curatorial skills, then I don't know what is. 

Gregory's curatorial process is based loosely on who he may see as an interesting fit, but mainly because he sees something greater coming from the two parts. As Gregory describes, "I ask these people to work together because I think it is going to be meaningful... to them, to us. When I hear it, it is like... "ok, I was right" Taylor and Sean's work - the first one I did... was over the top. It was so satisfying. They liked it. I liked it. It was a win win. Nothing beats that feeling". 

It's undoubtedly a challenge, defying the norms and akin to the format and approach, bringing something new to an otherwise fast-paced, ephemeral world, but these pairings aren't taken lightly and it takes Gregory a while to think of who would work well together. His dream pairing being Beth Gibbons and Justin Vernon, but until that works out, Gregory's trying to push the boundaries on a classic ambient approach that could quickly become a stale recipe: "I'm always hoping for musicians to take the opportunity to shed a skin, try something new, be totally open. I have a group of amazing musicians that I have not paired up yet, because I don't want the sound to be tired. I don't want to repeat the sound over and over again. I could do piano and ambient things till the end of time, but I'm looking for there to be a little something new in each of the releases."

Once he has decided on the duo, he'll make a graphic for each musician before they make the music: "It is kind of based on what I love about their work... how it makes me feel".  From that, he develops the cover, adding things to the mix based on what comes back music-wise.

The vinyl sleeve artwork is abstract enough, but if you look closely, you'll notice the ongoing theme between them all, with Gregory taking contour drawings of each musician's hand and the city where they reside into consideration. 

Gregory's ambition doesn't stop solely with the Thesis Project concept, with a similar but subtle concept Print/Track also gathering pace. Slightly different to the Thesis Project, Print/Track  features a musician completing one side of a 10" by themselves in response to a work by a visual artist. Or alternatively, a visual artist responds to the work of a musician. The first release out of the blocks comes from Ed Carlsen and Heather Woods Broderick

With two base-concepts, a host of amazing artists and all of the artwork falling on Gregory's lap, he's undoubtedly a busy man pushing through a very labor-intensive project. Thesis Project is a platform built entirely with the artists in mind. Funding is set-up to help everyone involved (you buy through a subscription), and Gregory is committed to doing most of the hard work to keep costs down.

It's projects like this that help push ambient and experimental music forward as a whole, whilst also raising awareness for lesser-known artists, now given an esteemed platform to express their works. It's a celebration of the format, showing the world what hard-graft, a focus and a passion for music and artwork can get you. And it's a big middle-finger to the way everyone thinks things should be done. You can move slowly. You can control it all yourself. You can spend more time on the artwork than the music if you wish. You can even fulfill dreams of seeing some of your musical heroes on the same record together. Thesis Project is proof. 

https://thesisproject.us/

 

isolatedmix 62 - Benoît Pioulard

 

A Kranky Records regular since 2006, Thomas Meluch has slowly but surely earned a swell of respect and admiration from the wider ambient community through his textured instrumental manipulations.

As well as his Benoît Pioulard pseudonym, Thomas has also produced alongside Rafael Anton Irisarri as Orcas, with two albums on Morr Music, and more recently, released my favorite album of his to date; Sonnet, which I was lucky to witness live on a hot Portland summer evening last year.  2016 however, sees a bitter-sweet production in his latest release, Radial; treating us listeners to some special unreleased productions, including his own take on an Aphex Twin classic, Stone In Focus.

Just like Aphex's ambient classics, such as Rhubarb, Thomas' interpretations and indeed his productions in general, reproduce this simplicity and swell of emotion.  Radial captures the very essence of Thomas's work, as a spectrum of degrading colors, gently shift in waves of warmth, static and blanketing drones.

Radial, comes under disappointing circumstances however, with Thomas recently breaking his wrist while hiking, hindering him from working and producing. Funds from the EP (currently name your price on Bandcamp) will go towards medical bills and lost hours of production. 

A track from the EP has the final word in Benoît's isolatedmix, appending a considered mixture of music that has helped keep him company since his injury:  "these are some of the records that I've found to be most healing over the past couple of weeks while mostly kind of cooped up at home with books, movies and cats." Healing indeed, as the mix drifts between soothing deepness in Warmth's recent ambient output; Markus Guentner's, Baryon; and Zane Trow's futuristic experimentations, alongside moments of uplifting light from Bibio, Chilly Gonzalez and Elvis Depressedly

Download.

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

 

Optic Echo Presents – Best Vinyl of 2015

 

Mike Jedlicka's Optic Echo radio show consistently serves up some of the best ambient, experimental and modern classical vinyl-only selections. In this special edition, Mike has curated some of his favorite vinyl of the year specially prepared for Headphone Commute.

As you would expect from a weekly show trying to summarize a years worth of wax purchases, it was no doubt an arduous task narrowing it downvand the result is a lovely journey through the many styles Mike covers on his show.

Mike's included some of my favorite vinyl of the year too, namely Night Sequels, 36, wndfrm, Benoit Poulard and Inventions, all sitting proudly in my best of 2015 lists. And a big thanks to Mike for also selecting Arovane & Hior Chronik's release.

Check out the Optic Echo Mixcloud page for all of the previous shows and Headphone Commute for full details and all download options.

Download.

Tracklist:
Mountains – Parallel Two – You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever
Kreng – Bargaining- The Summoner
Night Sequels – Siamese Summer – Children of the Night Make Music
Jon Hopkins – I Remember (Nils Frahm Dub Interrupt Remix) – I Remember 10”
Four Tet – Morning Side – Morning / Evening
Max Richter – Space 11 (Invisible Pages Over)- From Sleep
Shuttle358 – Can You Prove I Was Born?
Andrew Weathers – We Will Never See A Cloud Again – Fuck Everybody, You Can do Anything
VA (Marcus Fischer) – Field Works: Progue’s Run
Rival Consoles – Ghosting – Howl
Pye Corner Audio – Quasar II – Stars Shine Like Eyes 10”
Benoit Poulard – Whose Palms Create – Sonnet
36 – Sky Fire – Pulse Dive
wndfrm – Monopole – Formal Variant EP
Christina Vantzou – Stereoscope – No. 3
T.Raumschmiere – 007 – T.Raumschmiere
Inventions – Wolfkids – Maze of Woods
Nils Frahm – Our Own Roof – Music For The Motion Picture Victoria
Arovane & Hior Chronik – Scale – In-between [BUY]
Valet – Transformation – Nature
Anduin – Last Days of Montrose House 10”
Helm – I Exist In A Fog – Olympic Mess
Kamran Sadeghi – The Right Direction is Left
Lawrence English – Antarctica – Viento
Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm – Three – Loon
Celer – Distant Misgivings – Jima

 

Cio D'Or, 36, Benoit Pioulard, Echogarden

 
 

Cio D'Or - All In All

I've been a big fan of Cio D'Or since a mix she put together with Donato Dozzy some four years ago on mnmlssgs. Just last month, I got wind of a new 10" EP titled Off & On, and if that wasn't enough, the techno producer just dropped her new album, streaming over at Fact.

It's a work of genius, with Fact calling it 'atmospheric' - I'd say this reaches new levels of whatever defined atmospheric - it's straight up driving techno with beautiful compositions, heart-wrenching strings and pure emotion at the core. This might be a little too much for the ambient aficionado's on here but I urge you to play Tomorrow Was Yesterday from the tracks below and go from there... you probably wont re-emerge for quite some time. 

Available via Semantica on May 19th.

 
 

36 - Deep Space Mix 26

ASC's Deep Space Mix Series has attracted some of ambient's very best over the past few years. bvdub's had a spin, as has Sam KDC and of course, ASC himself. 

Now's it's turn for Dennis Huddleston aka 36 to step-up, with tracks from Aphex Twin, William Basinski, Slowdive and Hans Zimmer. Dive deeper into space. 

Download / view original post on Auxiliary

 

Benoit Pioulard - ISO50 Colorcast

I was lucky enough to experience Benoit's live show at a Record Store Day party last week at Beacon Sound (Portland). Showcasing some of his latest music from his release on Kranky titled Sonnet, it was an intimate insight into the mans subtle loops and shimmering melodies, and his latest mix for ISO50 reflects on many of these influences, from the gentle ambience of Cepia, to the folk sounds of Bibio. 

Sonnet is available via Bandcamp.

 
 

Tracklist

01, Assembler/Responder, Palmer Station, Bishop & Clerk
02, Alex G, Serpent is Lord, DSU
03, Duane Pitre, Section III, Feel Free
04, Bibio, Dinghy, Green
05, Ricky Eat Acid, In my dreams we're almost touching, Three Love Songs
06, Dirty Beaches, Pacific Ocean, Stateless
07, Carl Hultgren, I Walked Alone [Instrumental], Tomorrow
08, Cepia, Me and My Gin, Cepia
09, Foxes in Fiction, Glow (v079), Ontario Gothic
10, Jib Kidder, Yesterday's Gone [Robitussin Ramble by Benoît Pioulard], Steal Guitars: Fencing Partners

 

Martin Nonstatic & Frank Sebastian - Echogarden Vol.1

A hefty dub-techno compilation compiled by two of our favourite producers of the genre. This will no doubt introduce you to plenty of new artists and reaffirm our belief that this soft dub-techno sound, is surely becoming bigger and better - all thanks to many of the artists featured here.

Available via Bandcamp.