Released: 2002 By Cuneiform Records
Available on backorder
Drifting, hypnotic patterns
Brian Bieniowski / United States
Richard Pinhas is one of the most influential musicians in electronic music. Founder of the electronic-punk fusion band Heldon, Pinhas has trail blazed new and exciting paths in music for over thirty years. In my mind, Pinhas‘s music occupies the same twilight territory as the comics of fellow Frenchman Druillet (an artist who has illustrated Pinhas record covers). That is to say: highly original and evocative, yet often overlooked in genre related discussions. They both continue to forge a unique imprint, regardless of popular trends in perception and content, not to mention music.Most recently, Pinhas has teamed with French writer Maurice Dantec in the Schizotrope project; a scintillating blend of spoken word out-philosophy and Pinhas‘s signature soundscapes.It’s been a few years since a new solo Pinhas CD has seen release. De l’Un et du Multiple (released in 1996 on Spalax) featured solo guitar soundscapes looped to infinity, in enigmatic and emotional configurations. Pinhas‘s most recent release, titled Event and Repetitions, further builds on his devotion to soundscaping built solely from looped guitar.Outwardly, the source of music is quite simple: electric guitar looped and accompanied by more and more guitar until the entire composition reaches ecstatic crescendos; a gorgeous wall of sound. This type of sonic architecture was beautifully exhibited on the two Fripp and Eno albums (both of which no ambient fan should be without), and Pinhas‘s guitar work is clearly informed and influenced by those classic records. However, Pinhas has taken Fripp‘s approach and added to it his own distinctive abilities; that of unrestrained improvisation, as well as a punk sensibility no Frippertronic album ever verged on.A cursory listening may overemphasize Pinhas‘s debt to Fripp but, really, while the tools are essentially the same, the outcome is far different.Pinhas shreds it up in the seventy-seven minutes of Event and Repetitions. His guitar wails, shrieks, soars, and swoops; often simultaneously. Beneath it all is the undercurrent of low, deep guitar tones, which gradually become waves of vibrations churning the rest of the sonic maelstrom along. This is not ambient for the faint-of-heart!My own mental images do not do this recording justice. The entire CD simply grabs your attention and never lets go for the entire length. I have often described this music to myself as future or alien jazz.The sounds created are unearthly, but the improvised and compelling nature of the tracks demand active and close listening, not disconnection or distance from excessive experimental dissonances. Pinhas has never been afraid of beauty in his music. One could really imagine this as the soundtrack to an urban dystopia or an ascent to glimmering heaven. It’s just that evocative, and yet hard to pigeonhole.
In a year of great releases in the ambient and electronic genres, Event and Repetitions is surely one of the most rigorous and exciting discs of 2002. It stands as one of the best in Pinhas‘s catalog of great and classic works. I cannot praise his devotion to sonic experimentation, uncompromising artistry, and sense of beauty highly enough. This disc just sparkles from beginning to end. Wholly beguiling!Released on Cuneiform Records.
2002. Brian Bieniowski / United States
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