Monday, November 12, 2012


One of the towering figureheads of French underground music, Richard Pinhas and his band Heldon re-wired the circuitry of electronic rock, wresting the script from the more genteel paradigm posited by Krautrock electronic merchants with a suite of albums over the 70's that celebrated a dystopian and dyspeptic vision of electronic rock as a slow-acting psychotropic poison, meant to induce a fevered, dissociative state. The cold sweat before the White Light of psychedelic awakening. It's a tack he shared with fellow titans of the scene like Lard Free's Gilbert Artman and Verto's Jean-Pierre Grasset, though for want of an introduction to the visionary splendor of Heldon, one might first want to hunt down their studio albums (I recommend starting with Interface), before wading into this tidal pool. 

For those who've already suckled themselves at the neurotoxic teat of mother Heldon and want to delve deeper, this hideously rare boot is surely worth exploring. Side A of this would finally appear as part of the "Live Electronik Guerilla" CD on Captain Trip alongside material from the following year (albeit at a slightly pitched up speed) but side B's material is exclusive to this 100 copy bootleg vinyl, presumably because, as the Freemans from Ultima Thule note on Discogs, this side of the album is primarily the work of (at that time) Heldon member Alain Renaud. And so after all that palaver, what is it that you actually get here? Well, at least initially, something far more placid than I'd alluded to. 1975 was a transitional point for Heldon. Following the more rock-focused material on his debut LP Electronic Guerilla from 1974, and before he launched into the brain pan scouring ferocity of his later efforts that began with the following years' Agneta Nilsson LP, Pinhas was delving whole hog into the glazed and abstracted landscapes opened up for him by hearing Fripp and Eno's No Pussyfooting (his admitted core influence), with his albums from that year (Allez-Teia and It's Only Rock & Roll) pitting him against either Georges Grunblatt's keys or Alain Renaud's guitar over tracks that narcotically ooze and writhe more than rock and roll. 

From the sound of things, only Pinhas and Gauthier are on hand here, resulting in a sound nakedly reflective of their Fripp and Eno obsessions, with overlapping tides of guitar delay and drone snaking off into infinity on the A side, while the more typical guitar riff-erama unleashed on the Renaud-centered flip scarcely remind of any other Heldon at all, presumably why it was scotched from the Captain Trip reissue, though for fans of Renaud's solo albums (like his "Out Of Time" LP shared long ago by Jim) there's some definitely curiosity to hearing this extended onanism of his. As for the brief tacked-on bit from 1982 that closes this out, I haven't the foggiest if this is actually the work of Pinhas or Renaud, being banal soundtrack-y symphonic treacle unlike anything else by either of them.

Get it via Rapidshare Here


litlgrey said...

I fucking remember this boot! The cover is a xerox from the front page of MY Artitude Magazine, with a career-spanning examination of Pinhas by the late great Douglass Walker of Alien Planetscapes.
Doug and I always found this media appropriation hysterical.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vdoandsound (and other contributors) .

Thanks from the Netherlands. Really awesome blog!


klockwerk said...

Thanks again and again... and again.

klockwerk said...

Any chance of dinding and posting a major electronic/cassette release called Magicians Hat by 2 early Maryland synth devotees (Rosenwig?+)?

Anonymous said...

exhausted again :/

Anonymous said...

i believe i have this recording on a cassette purchased back in the early 1980's . it does not feature the last bit which is 'The Joe Chip Song (Quartete - Part 2)' from the Richard Pinhas album 'DWW' (recorded post-'L'Ethique' but not released until 1992).