Stanza II – Benoît Pioulard

Continuing the release of companion pieces to this earlier album release of ‘Sonnet’ on the Kranky Record label, ambient musician and composer Thomas Meluch, working under the moniker of Benoît Pioulard, offers the second companion album ‘Stanza II’. Like the previous release of ‘Stanza’, ‘Stanza II’ sees Meluch indulging in the ambient side of things, drawing out elements for long periods of time, resulting in an enjoyable and relaxing album experience. ‘Stanza II’ offers much more of the same as the previous album, offering a less experimental edge than what was present on ‘Sonnet’ and instead coming across as a more traditional ambient album.

There’s many strengths present on ‘Stanza II’ which sees Meluch once again immersing himself in his ambient creative streak. Much of the music on this new release bursts forth in what feels like a very organic way, utilizing drones to create an immersive and relaxing ambient music experience. There’s a comfortable and nice progression to what is featured on this release, which lets each track flow in gently and remain long enough to ground itself before slowly pulling itself away. There’s some elements at play here that make this release a stronger one than its predecessor, mostly in how Meluch develops each track on the album.

 One can find some level of criticism on ‘Stanza II’ for many of the same reasons on its predecessor. Whilst acting as a companion piece to ‘Sonnet’, the album instead seems to lack the somewhat experimental edge the album held, instead opting for more droning compositions, with less instruments, techniques and varying concepts thrown into the fray. It all works wonderfully well in pushing forward a more meditative album experience, where one is relaxed by the music, though the experimental edge of ‘Sonnet’ was one of its great strengths, and one that would have been interesting to have seen pushed forward more on these later releases.

Though it might not be as daring and to some extent ambitious as some of Meluch’s previous works, there’s still a great amount on offer with ‘Stanza II’, which once again showcases Meluch’s talents as an ambient music composer in a brilliant light. The wonderfully relaxing textures presented on the album result in a wonderfully calm and meditative album experience, one that is perhaps more relaxing and calm than the Kranky album release of ‘Sonnet’. It seems with each release, Meluch is indulging much more in his ambient side, and is churning out some really wonderful albums as a result.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • VIII
  • IX
  • X
  • Held In

Benoît Pioulard’s latest album ‘Stanza II’ is out now, available at: https://pioulard.bandcamp.com/album/stanza-ii

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