Praveen Sharma has been making music for most of his life, and has contributed releases to AI, Neo Ouija, and Expanding Records. He also runs Percussion Lab, a hub for underground electronic music and exclusive DJ sets, in addition to being an avid live performer and event organizer in New York City.
Thomas Meluch (aka Benoît Pioulard) began playing piano at age five and has been recording music and field sounds with various devices for nearly as long. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he recently finished the follow-up album to the highly acclaimed Précis (2006) for the indie stalwarts at Chicago's Kranky.
It's all in the wires. Praveen Sharma and Thomas Meluch (aka Benoît Pioulard) have met only a handful of times and have never resided in the same city, but over the course of two-plus years they have been quietly assembling Songs Spun Simla, a brief but luminescent collection of pieces driven by Praveen's inventive arrangements and Benoît's lush vocal harmonizing.
Praveen released his remarkable debut Backed by Spirits on the now-defunct Neo Ouija imprint just as Benoît emerged with the Enge EP on Michigan's Moodgadget label in early 2005. Through mutual contacts they found that each was an admirer of the other's work, and the seeds for a casual collaboration were sown. Not long after, Praveen returned from a profound journey through his family's native India with a minidisk full of field recordings and voices, forming the basis of opener "The Tunnel is Still There". As he continued creating new songs with an ever-expanding palette of instruments and digital effects, Benoît arranged lyrics and harmonies, driven by the unfamiliarity and excitement of the process. Various ideas arose concerning the fate of these works, but once a record's worth had been amassed, their friends at Music Related expressed interest in a proper release.
Songs Spun Simla is named in honor of the village in India from which Praveen's family originates - it's inseparable from his musical inspirations yet still distant and shaped largely by memory. His compositions exist on a fitting scale, then; from the stunning, expansive lead-in of "Death as a Man" to the incredibly detailed percussion of "To Scale", there's a sense of worldliness, history and nostalgia placed in a crucible with technology and innovation. Much like a travelogue, the six movements of Songs Spun Simla abut soaring highs with passages of quiet, intimate beauty to create a deeply affecting whole.