The Best Albums
Sitting quietly in scorching reimagined suburbia
For many months in 2015, I was convinced Crosss' Lo — my 10th ranked album — would end the year atop this list; so strong and abundant was the year's new music. Ultimately, though, the highest ranking could only go to Noyaux, one of two new recordings released by Benoit Pioulard this year (the other, Sonnet, also made this list).
Noyaux seemed to come out of nowhere — I wasn't expecting it. Nor could I have expected its visceral impact, which, for me, was profound. Noyaux offers ethereal, wordless soundscapes, in a vein similar to Olan Mill, but with slightly more dissonance. Possibly, this is the sound of the universe expanding. Or the sound of loss. Or the sound of the past unfolding. However you might interpret it, Noyaux is pure sonic, cinematic transport. It's a powerful and hauntingly beautiful experience that elicits emotions that are seldom felt, or that maybe were never before known. That is the purpose of all art, of course, and here Pioulard has done it, and with only four tracks and twenty five minutes, and without words.