What better way to bring Heligator Records’ run of digital-only singles and EPs to a close than with the sun-bleached textures of Benoît Pioulard’s Finity? Pioulard, the alias of US songwriter and sound artist Thomas Meluch, is adept at creating evocative, beautiful pieces that unfurl gradually, like flowers reaching for the warmth and light of the day. But those same pieces, such as last year’s fabulous Sonnet, are also heavy with an indefinable emotional residue, a melancholy nostalgia that tempers their wide-eyed naivete and that runs through the mass of his compositions like the rings in a tree trunk. Finity cleaves to Pioulard’s blueprint in fine style, its fuzzed, soft-hued guitar wails rising and falling in slo-mo arcs like a scrunched-up tape loop retrieved from the back of William Basinski’s sofa. There’s no progression, as such, save a gradual deepening of the cracked patina, gradually seeping outwards in overlapping concentric circles. Unlike the rather disembodied nature of Basinski’s work (a quality that often serves to emphasise its alienated beauty), Finity feels like it’s been made by humans, the ebb and flow of its glistening motifs regular enough to mirror the rhythms of the human body. In fact, I could imagine Meluch pasting together a perpetual machine version of this track, designed to run the whole span of a body’s life, mirroring its diurnal cycles and its growth from child to maturity. This would play not in a phone or iPod but pulsing somewhere within, perhaps implanted in the cerebellum at birth, and actually helping to regulate the body instead of merely soundtracking it. Electric music for the mind and body.
Although this is the last Heligator single, proprietor Ryan Hall tells me the label will continue to put out regular bi-yearly compilations, with all funds going to support the library at the Malindza Refugee Camp in Swaziland. Hall and Heligator have supported the Camp library since the label’s inception. “All proceeds from the purchase of Heligator Records music goes towards maintaining the library through the purchase of supplies, the paying of the electric bill and a small stipend for volunteer refugee librarians,” says Hall. Bloody good show if you ask me. There’s no reason not to give ‘em your money.
Hall is also involved in another venture, a new label called Whited Sepulchre, which has so far dropped two good ‘uns – a Braeyden Jae / ant’lrd split cassette and Fog Mirror, a longer player from the aforementioned Mr Jae. Reviews for these two are coming soon, but in the mean time bookmark http://whitedsepulchrerecords.bandcamp.com/music – you can expect plenty more from Mr Hall.