Thomas Meluch’s evocative, understated recordings as Benoît Pioulard nestle neatly alongside those of his Kranky labelmates in the hazy interstices between the tentatively song-based (Grouper, Jessica Bailiff) and the purely sound-oriented (Tim Hecker, Windy & Carl). Hymnal, his fourth full-length for the label, was inspired by the churches and religious iconography he encountered while living and recording in England and mainland Europe, making his appearance at the First Unitarian’s chapel even more fitting than it already would be given his hushed intimacy. That said, the album rarely evokes faith or divinity in any overt, straightforward sense; while certainly graceful and contemplative, it conveys none of the heavenly purity of, say, Julianna Barwick. The ambient/drone pieces often feel downright grubby, conjuring a sense of dust and corporeal decay akin to William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, while the interspersed folk-flecked vocal numbers, though sweetly, wispily pastoral, carry a slightly disjointed, creepy tinge.
Mon., March 25, 8:30 p.m., $10-$12, with Nadia Sirota and Jeff Zeigler, First Unitarian Church Side Chapel, 2125 Chestnut St., 866-468-7619, r5productions.com.