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Album Review

Tikkun is a collaborative recording between French avant guitarist Richard Pinhas, founder of 1970s-era guerilla rockers Heldon, and Australian guitarist, drummer, producer and experimentalist Oren Ambarchi. The pair first played together on Pinhas' stellar 2013 album Desolation Row, the first part of his "devolution" trilogy; his act of resistance against neo-liberalism and global capital's reliance on machines to control societies. Tikkun is one of two recordings he issued simultaneously; the other is Welcome in the Void with drummer Yoshida Tatsuya; the second part of "devolution." Tikkun is not part of the trilogy but in a sense, is its other side. The word is part of the Hebrew spiritual term "Tikkun olam" which, loosely translated, means to repair and heal a broken world. It dates from the Mishnah and early Rabbinic period, but was later expanded upon in the 16th century kabbalistic thought of Rabbi Isaac Luria, and later still in the Jewish activism of the 20th century. This set contains both an audio and a video disc. The audio portion contains three long works played by the pair with "circles" of musicians. The first circle features both guitarists and drummer Joe Talia; the second is an added group which helps to illustrate the sonic investigations undertaken by the first: legendary Japanese noise constructivist Masami Akita (aka Merzbow), Pinhas' son Duncan on sequencers, and second drummer Erick Borelva. The video portion is a concert-length duo performance shot at Les Instants Chavires in Paris. Unlike the cyclonic, forceful Welcome in the Void, these pieces are all spiraling space rock jams with drones and colorful, textured ambience at their core. The two guitarists use their respective talents, loops, and effects to complement, encourage, and frame one another energetically. Talia's and Borelva's drums act not so much as guideposts, but as additional fuel for the heavy, breathing, wafting colors and sounds. The bass sequences that open "Washington, D.C. - T4v1" feature Ambarchi's signature piercing guitar above Pinhas' more distorted open drone. For 30 minutes they build, graft, transfer, and flow between one another, erecting massive walls of sound where bass bombs, noise, and feedback become part of a mysterious though very physical cosmiche. "Toyko - T4v2" is slower, and offers Merzbow's tempered but no less menacing industrial textures as another lead instrument atop Talia's syncopated and broken beats. But this is a true duo offering: the guitars use his dissonance to create something beautiful from the torrential noise. On the video disc, the duo prove they can do this all on their own. Ambarchi switches to drums part way through and his ecstatic playing is a joyous if raucous counterpart to Pinhas' always fascinating construction of scintillating ideas, tensions, fragmented spaces, and spiky assertions. Over two-and-half hours, Tikkun delivers a boundless, space rock that reflects the depth and variety of human and spiritual experience.


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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Tikkun, Richard Pinhas
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