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Rhizosphere / Live, Paris 1982

Richard Pinhas

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Album Review

Another schizophrenic Pinhas recording, although this time largely due to the addition of previously unreleased live 1982 material played by a quartet consisting of Pinhas on synthesizers and guitars, Patrick Gauthier on mini-moogs, plus bass and drums. The original Rhizosphere program consists of four Pinhas solo pieces for synthesizer, plus another with Francois Auger accompanying on drums. Both halves of this CD have their strengths and weaknesses. Pinhas' solo pieces are once again quite pleasant, but sometimes seem a little naive 20 years down the electronic road. The sounds of the moogs and A.R.P.s, the fat, cosmic chords and rippling arpeggios, the ethereal melodic fragments and spacy sci-fi effects must have seemed totally amazing at the time ("mind-blowing," in '70s parlance), but once the technology had been mastered, the sonic palette of the synthesizer became part of the standard musical vocabulary, and had much less novelty value as a listening experience. "Claire P.," dedicated to Philip Glass, is a cut above the average, with an effective approximation of Glass' relentless rhythmic pulse. "Trapeze/Interference" is also somewhat out of the ordinary with its malevolent low bass drones and generally dark, drifting mood. The title piece is probably too slight musically for the nearly 18 minutes it's given, but Auger's drums give it some punch. Pinhas might be striving here for the hypnotic effect achieved by contemporary fellow synthesists such as Klaus Schulze, but Pinhas doesn't quite capture Schulze's flow or sense of dynamics. The live set is, on the whole, more satisfying as the same simple melodic material and chord progressions used in the solo pieces acquire more textural density and energy when interpreted by the group. Pinhas' plaintive electric guitar has an emotional force not present in his keyboard work, and other group members add texture and rhythmic complexity. This is not the definitive live Heldon experience; the playing is occasionally a little ragged, but the music still provides a good aural snapshot of the Heldon sound in a concert setting.

Biography

Born: May 7, 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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Rhizosphere / Live, Paris 1982, Richard Pinhas
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