1978 Was an important years for electronic music in Belgium. In that year, the duo Pillon was formed. The duo consisted of Walter Christian Rothe and Guy Drieghe D.. In 1980 they released their first lp, “Enigmas”, that over the years has received a legendary status. The music sounded different from what we knew at that time from other electronic musicians because it was more “rock” and less cosmic. A second album was recorded but sadly never came out. In stead of this, Pillion disbanded. Both started a new musical life. Rothe released a number of excellent, sometimes Vangelis-like soloalbums, and then moved to the United States to begin a career in filmmusic. Drieghe continued making music in Belgium.
- Out Of The Ashes - [16:17]
- The Sparrows Are Flying - [7:19]
- Halcyon's Day - [13:09]
- Buick 57-A - [10:08]
- Tabula Rasa - [15:26]
- A New Dawn - [3:45]
In 2006, the two came back together again and recorded a conceptalbum for a theatre piece. It was about the changes in life one has been forced to do, if you have no choice, confirming what Pillion was all about: a way of life, a message, a vision, being yourself and "freak out". Unfortunately, the album was shelved but happily it is now released by Groove Unlimited. And rightfully so! It is really one of the best electronic musicalbums of recent times. “Out Of The Ashes” opens the cd with a masterful seqercerline, after which they start to rock.
Herwig Duchateau plays drums and Peter Heijnen electric guitar. The fat synthesizersolo remind of the MiniMoog sound from Klaus Schulze’s albums from the second half of the seventies. The second part of the track has an even better sequence. At a couple of times, the symphonic sequencermusic music from the Spaniards Dom F. Scab and John Lakveet comes in mind. Heijnen plays a great solo. This is how EM should sound. “Halcyon’s Day” is a fine ambientpiece, after which the sequences return in the melodically “Tabula Rasa”. In “The Sparrows Are Flying” the two slow things down. Here, clearly Tangerine Dream comes by from the years of their big albums “Rubycon” and “Ricochet”. In “Buick S7-A” again drums and guitar play an important. The melodies are great. The sequence from the first track returns in “A New Dawn”.
It is fantastic that Pillion is back: “Halcyon” is a masterpiece of electronic ingenuity. Hopefully we don’t have to wait so long for a next album.
2012. Paul Rijkens
An fantastic masterpiece, the brilliant guitar parts are very moaning and i believe this masterpiece is one big journey. Tabula Raisa is still mine favorite song it has everything brilliant drum parts, deeply sounded keys and beautiful guitar parts. The synth pads must be fully harmonizing and it does its fully going up in the sequences.
For me the best album in 2012 and 2013.
Phew! It hits you like a ton of bricks! Pillion is the musical adventure of the Belgian musician Walter Christian Rothe and Guy Drieghe. Formed in 1978 the group knew a short life of 2 years and 2 albums before that Rothe undertakes a solo path in 1980 with a first album entitled Solitude. Walter Christian Rothe resuscitates Pillion in 2006 with “Halcyon”; an album strongly soaked by the black atmospheres of Let the Night Last Forever (Rothe's 2nd solo album) and Enigmas, the very first Pillion album in 1980. Except that the “Halcyon” project knows a very shy life and is fast forgotten in the vaults of the Belgian synth wizard. A 2nd draft saw the light of day in 2008 when the album, always very discreet in the spheres of EM, is offered in downloadable format. Ron Boots, sensing all the genius behind this spectacular work as much musical as somber, takes it under its wing and remasterises it for the needs of his Groove label. And what a result! “Halcyon” is a masterful concept album which unfolds its 70 minutes with sepulchral moods à la Phaedra and Ricochet, sequenced rhythms à la Underwater Sunlight and progressive electronic phases à la Mind Over Matter. In brief, a colossal album which is going to amaze you, seduce you and conquer you.
Such as a love at first sight, a synth draws the lines of a beautiful melody which hangs on to our eardrums. She turns in loop, magnetizing our fascination for these organic percussions which stamp awkwardly. "Out of the Ashes" hatches out of its pulsating beat from which the orderly and hypnotic beatings are flogged by heavy riffs of guitars which take soloïques forms and vampiric synth solos. Hypnotic the rhythm persists in progressing in this delicious musical din, wearing at arm's length a track which depicts marvellously the next 54 minutes to come and which transits towards a more ambient phase at its middle route. Magical, "Out of the Ashes" borrows a tangent which reminds me of Mind Over Matter with a furtive structure set up by the means of a bass line which has difficulty in swirling under a dripping chain of sequences. These sequences make dance their ions which alternate their strikings like knocks of bevels, calling back Chris Franke's subjugating universe of The London Concert, beneath more ethereal synth solos which swirl in some blue and soporific gases, exchanging its spectral harmonies with solos and riffs of a guitar which tries constantly to weaken this delicate balance between a rhythm lost in its night-atmospheres. This is a great track which draws the lines of an incredible album. "The Sparrows are Flying" is a track of scheming atmospheres with a fine pulsation from a bass line which skips in a dense threatening mist from where escape lugubrious lamentations. It's purely ambient and it's the quietest passage of “Halcyon”.
"Halcyon's Day" begins like a sort of blues lonely in the night which throws its plaintive synth breaths, tearing a dense coat of troubling mist. This dark and gloomy mood dissipates like the fog in front of winds and borrows a more rock tangent with a superb pattern of sequences from which the jumping ions alternate their hits of glasses in a great harmonious meshing. The synth ties up its harmonies of ether among twisted solos which embrace each other over this sequenced swell which wears the rhythm towards a more black and ambient finale where serpentines of glass sequences hiccup in a mystic mist which lets itself charmed by dreamy guitar solos. Solitary solos which lead us to the quiet introductory of "Buick 57-A" and of its dark rhythm built on furtive sequences which are pounding in a somber ambience where rustles of schizophrenia roam with floating drones and in oblong riffs lost by a malevolent guitar. This is another great track which caresses reminiscences of Tangerine Dream, era Phaedra and Rubycon. Peter Heijnen's guitar solos sing over the muted pulsations which sleep under an ochred mist, starting slowly the procession of "Tabula Rasa". The atmospheres are always dark and the music follows an evolutionary bend with flickering jingles and riffs which accelerate hypocritically a funeral pace. Synth pads harmonize themselves with this latent rhythm which increases little by little its strength, and its pace, with the arrival of Herwig Duchateau's percussions which debauch a structure closer to progressive electronic rock. The solos of guitar are moaning under a thick cloud of resonant drones, leading "Tabula Rasa" towards a more acid phase of the psychedelic years. "A New Dawn" ends with the delicate surviving melody of the passionate "Out of the Ashes", looping the loop of a stunning album which is undoubtedly the surprise of 2012.
Pillion's “Halcyon” is not to be missed. It's an album without smudges which unites with wonder the psychedelic areas of the vintage years to a dark, melodic and lively EM. It's the kind of work that stands out, like that without a warning and which puts us full ears. It's my biggest very favorite of 2012. To have without fault!
2013. Sylvain Lupari / gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com