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Album Review

Richard Pinhas' continuing transformation from cryptic French prog figure to touchstone for a next generation of abstract noisemakers continues on Metal/Crystal, thanks to the appearance of guest figures such as Merzbow and Wolf Eyes as well as his recent backing band. But it's his art rock/shred guitar that remains central throughout. The opening "Bi-Polarity (Gold)" demonstrates the balance of power in deft fashion — while the rhythm section both keeps pace and at times swings out, with drummer Antoine Paganotti really shining, it's always Pinhas' rise-and-fall feedback flow that drives the track. It's another extension of his spirit of post-Hendrix experimentation that avoids pre-Guitar Center calcification, concluding the performance with nothing but a swirl of exultant waves. "Paranoia (Iridium)," in contrast, starts out as all Pinhas, a slow-building burn of noise that lives up to its title as it progresses, with stabs of electronic squelching and a perversely pretty melody or two poking out from behind the wash. "Depression (Loukoum)" is more stretched out and, indeed, melancholic at points but not completely zoned; it's more like the existential force keeping things going, Pinhas' guitar only fading away toward the end as hushed keyboards take over. The combination of space rock electronics, random percussive clatter, and distant guitar on "Hysteria (Palladium)" heralds the appearance of Wolf Eyes clearly enough (or murkily enough, if one prefers), with cymbal, squelch, and feedback providing the open flow of the majority of the track that leads into an increasingly fraught conclusion of open-ended rock explosion, guitar tones growling like alien klaxons before crumbling into muck. "Schizophrenia (Silver)" is almost a conventional jam in comparison, and after some of the more fraught/sad tracks actually feels sweetly uplifting at points, his soloing not quite good-time boogie but, thanks to the band's approach and the keyboard solo adding to it all, it concludes on a similar note to "Bi-Polarity," appropriately enough. "Legend" ends Metal/Crystal with metallic drone chill, Pinhas' one strictly solo piece on the album.


Born: 07 May 1951

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

French guitarist Richard Pinhas led the group Heldon from 1974-78, releasing seven albums with that group and six solo LPs, often featuring members of Heldon. Born in 1951, Pinhas earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the Sorbonne and taught at that school. In 1972 he became a part of Schizo, a group whose music contained a great deal of electronics. After Schizo's demise, Pinhas formed Heldon, whose only constant was himself. Pinhas' solo work covered a lot of ground. His first solo LP, Rhizosphere, was...
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Top Albums and Songs by Richard Pinhas

Metal / Crystal, Richard Pinhas
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  • $35.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 28 September 2010

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