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Album Review

This was Heldon's last studio release, although the reissued Rhizosphere CD includes a 1982 Heldon concert recording with slightly different personnel. Stand By features the classic trio lineup of the brilliant Francois Auger on percussion, Patrick Gauthier on keyboards and Pinhas on guitars, keyboards and electronics, with some additional assistance from Didier Batard on bass, Didier Badez on sequencers and Klaus Blasquiz doing voices. The two long pieces on the CD are an interesting contrast. The title piece starts with some nasty distorted fuzz guitar from Pinhas over ponderous, menacing bass and drums. King Crimson at its most aggressive could be considered a model, but this track is also very close to the so-called "zheul" sound of Magma, another French prog-rock band of the period, which shared Pinhas' interest in science fiction motifs, among other things. Later in the piece, the band switches gears somewhat with a slightly quicker tempo, but then after a minutes settles back into a grinding, heavy metal sound. After a short and much jauntier electronic interlude comes the second long piece, "Bolero," which uses the well-known Spanish rhythm in an opening section, but then moves into a long space jam which is anchored by a strong sequencer pulse. The result is some very effective "kosmiche" space music, much in the vein of early Klaus Schulze. From a later vantage point, the musical style here is quite familiar, but what makes Heldon's piece a superior thing of its kind is Auger's imaginative percussion, Pinhas' loose, soaring guitar improvisation on top of the precise electronics, and the general interplay among musicians and between acoustic, electric and electronic instruments. Not cookie-cutter stuff by any means, this piece gives the German audionauts such as Schulze and Tangerine Dream some worthy competition.

Biography

Formed: 1974

Genre: Rock

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

Led by guitarist Richard Pinhas, the French group Heldon released seven groundbreaking albums, melding electronic and rock forms, from 1974 to 1978. Pinhas also recorded six albums under his own name. Pinhas was heavily influenced by Robert Fripp; this shows in his guitar playing, and in the titles of several of his compositions. While early LPs sometimes evoked the sound of Fripp and Eno, Heldon evolved in its own direction. The release of Heldon IV: Agneta Nilsson saw the group heading toward a...
Full Bio
Stand By, Heldon
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