Thursday, July 1, 2010

Richard Pinhas, CHRONOLYSE

Cobra, 1978; reissued by Spalax, Cuneiform, and Captain Trip; Cuneiform edition available

9 tracks, 52:56

First and foremost: Happy 100th entry to my humble lil' blog! Hooray and all that! Okay, on to the review.

Pinhas' group Heldon has already been reviewed here (and most of you probably knew about'em already!). This was Pinhas' second solo album to be released*. However, it was actually recorded in 1976 somewhere between Heldon's IV and V**; it just wasn't released until two years later. Truth be told, it's not really even a solo album per se. Side one had "Variations I-VII Sur Le Theme De Bene Gesserit" and "Duncan Idaho". These feature Pinhas and his Moog, truly solo. The "Variations" are exactly that, most being quite short (with the exception of "Variation VII") and all featuring the same basic set of sequences. Don't let that deter you, as they all form into a mesmerizing and literally trance-inducing mini-suite of minimalist analog bliss. "Duncan Idaho" is similar, but features its own unique set of sequenced eletronic sounds. It's also much longer than any of the individual "Variations" at just over six minutes. So far this sounds like a true solo effort, but then the massive side-long "Paul Atreides" comes along. This thirty-plus minute behemoth is essentially a Heldon track, with longtime Heldon drummer François Auger and sometime bassist Didier Batard joining Pinhas. Richard himself tackles guitar, Mellotron, and ARP synths. "Paul Atreides" opens with eerie drones and what could be classic sci-fi sound effects, slowly progressing for several minutes before Pinhas unleashes his soaring Frippian guitar and Auger starts to provide a suitably motorik-style beat, with Batard completing a solid rhythm section. After a stretch of true space rock, the song comes full circle back to the space drone of the beginning. It's a truly intimidating listen, and it just may be the single greatest track in Pinhas' entire catalog. The rest of the album is great, too, making this one of the most important and enjoyable Pinhas-related releases. Oh, and if the track names seem familiar, Pinhas got them all from Frank Herbert's DUNE; he also "dedicated (this album) to all S(ci).F(i). freaks", for what that's worth!

*His first, RHIZOSPHERE, has its moments but is mostly inferior to CHRONOLYSE in my opinion.

**Yes, the titles are much longer, but for the sake of space and time I'm referring to them by number only.

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