Beacon Sound presents a first-time collaboration between Thomas Meluch (aka Benoit Pioulard) and Sean Curtis Patrick, entitled Avocationals. Over the course of nine songs the two use synthesizers, reel-to-reel tape machines, field recordings, guitar, and processed voice to conjure the ghosts of 20th century Great Lakes shipwrecks. From the muffled thumping of "Stonefax", which might bring to mind the cracking and bowing of a ship on its way to the lake bottom, to the pulsating vocal drone that guides "Sunek", evoking peril and loss, each of these songs brings to mind the final moments of doomed seafarers and their cargo-laden ships, the disintegration of hubris, the fraying of memory. By the time "Cabot" rolls around, like a lonely fog horn crossing the waves on a stormy night, the effect is of watching a decaying film loop that is somehow not only representative of a distant past but also of what perhaps lies ahead.
Wintery, yet humming throughout with a narcotic warmth, Avocationals will pull you underwater and submerge you in the murky depths of a lost world. As the artists themselves write, "An avocational is an amateur diver who assists in rescue, investigation and salvage relating to watercraft disasters. Dozens of freighters and small sank during the mid-20th century golden age of shipping on the Great Lakes; this album is about nine of them."
Sean Curtis Patrick is a visual artist, photographer, adventurer, and musician. He has created art, design, and music videos for artists like Alessandro Cortini, Benoit Pioulard, Bana Haffar, Richard Devine, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Rafael Anton lrisarri, and many others. ln 2018, Sean directed and sound tracked a documentary about the devastation of the island of Puerto Rico after the hurricanes of 2017. He is an alumnus of the Banff Centre Musicians in Residence program and debuted new solo material on a Japanese tour in late 2018. Sean has released albums on Day Dot, Beacon Sound, and Muzan Editions. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Benoit Pioulard weaves natural sounds and textures of decay into his vague-pop songs, colored with the lushness and unpredictability of field recordings. His numerous albums for Kranky, Beacon Sound, and Morr Music document an evolving relationship with guitar, voice, and frayed layers of fidelity, alternately melodic, muted, and diffuse. He resides in Seattle, Washington.
Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll.