Temper CD - Kranky

On Temper, Benoit Pioulard blends avant-garde pop, ambient, and experimental sounds winningly. The song-oriented compositions feature a mellow, tuneful male voice, often self-harmonizing, while others are creative, eclectic instrumentals. On the more traditionally-crafted tunes, skillful acoustic guitar is joined with atmospherics. The use of insistent, hypnotic arpeggios on the opening track, "Ragged Tint," recalls Laraaji's collaboration with Brian Eno, Ambient 3: Day of Radiance. While Pioulard's sound is unique, in the poppier songs it reminds of the lovely early albums of Butterfly Child, such as Onomatopoeia. The second properly released album by Portland, Oregon's Thomas Meluch using the Benoit Pioulard moniker, Temper innovates yet welcomes the listener into its space. The pseudonym works because these 16 tracks could have been created by a central European as easily as an American, not to mention it lends mysterioso. The ambient pieces often times recall Windy & Carl or Brian Eno, and overall a 4AD Records influence can be detected. The vocals are cool yet warm, melodic and understated. The use of tasteful and creative percussive sounds is another feature of this deep violet delight. Temper is sensuous and stylish from start to finish. (Michael Snyder)



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