RICHARD PINHAS

Composer, guitarist and electronics innovator Richard Pinhas is recognized as one of France's major experimental musicians and is a pivotal figure in the development of electronic rock.

Richard Pinhas official website

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PROCESS AND REALITY



RUNE 432

Three founding fathers of experimental music join forces to conjure an unholy serenade for a society on the verge of collapse on Process and Reality, an hourlong whirlwind of pessimistic prophecy transformed into a heady monolith of sound.

Boundary-stretching guitarist Richard Pinhas, founder of the influential French electronic-rock band Heldon, teams with two icons of the Japanese avant-garde – drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, mastermind of warped-prog legends Ruins, Koenjihyakkei and Korekyojinn, and Masami Akita, a.k.a. noise guru Merzbow – to summon a brutally honest, politically potent, sonically tumultuous reflection of the last gasps of the industrial age.

Process and Reality marks the first recorded convergence of these three avant-rock giants, though Pinhas has recorded with both Yoshida and Merzbow in the past and all three have toured extensively together in Japan. The album, recorded in Tokyo during a recent high-profile tour, captures the fevered intensity and violently textured depth of the trio’s collaborative improvisations.

Pinhas' aggressive, combustible music has always been honed to a keen edge by its philosophical bent. Process and Reality takes its name from an influential 1929 book by English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, which posits reality as a continual process of becoming. That’s an apt summation of the music made by Pinhas, Yoshida and Akita, which seethes and roils in a constant state of both turbulent flux and visceral realization. The guitarist says of his collaborators, “They explore 100% of their possibility. We have the same kind of spirit.”

The bleak outlook embodied by the music on Process and Reality is stunningly pictured in cover art worthy of a cyberpunk novel, rendering an oil tanker as a surrogate for the decaying post-industrial future. It was created by Patrick Jelin, the gifted designer also responsible for the covers for classic Heldon albums Interface (1977) and Stand By (1979), as well as Pinhas’ 1979 solo effort Iceland.

If that’s all too downbeat for an evening’s listening, Pinhas also sees the album as a celebration of his cherished friendship with these Japanese artists. “Japan is the best scene in the world,” he asserts, and while he foresees a radical change in his sound approaching in 2017, he continues that, “Always I will work with my forever friends.”

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CHRONOLYSE



RUNE 30

Cuneiform Records is proud to announce the first-ever vinyl reissue of Chronolyse, the masterwork of 1970s analogue electronics that French electronic musician and guitarist Richard Pinhas created in tribute to Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic, Dune. This special reissue, pressed on 180 gram white vinyl and featuring the original album artwork, celebrates Chronolyse's conception nearly 40 years ago as well as the 50th anniversary of Dune, the first volume of which was published in 1965.

Back in 1974, Pinhas received his PhD in Philosophy from the Sorbonne, where he had studied with French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and written his dissertation, ''Science-Fiction, Inconscient et Autres Machins'', on the intersections of time, time manipulation, science fiction and analogue electronic music. That same year he founded Heldon. a band that fused his searing guitar with experimental electronics to revolutionize rock music in France. By 1976 Heldon had released several albums on Pinhas' Disjuncta label (one of France's first independent labels), and began working on a new album, Interface. Simultaneous with the Interface sessions, Pinhas immersed himself in a highly personal and heartfelt solo project. He had been deeply affected by Frank Herbert's Dune novels and the complete universe that they contained, and wanted to dedicate a full album to Dune. Acquiring a Moog P3 and a new Polymoog to accompany two Revox A700s he had installed in his home Heldon Studio, Pinhas now had the perfect analogue electronic arsenal to weave his own sonic and philosophical universe in response to Dune's.

Between January and June 1976, he recorded his Dune tribute on Moog and Polymoog direct to tape; he recalls that the music flowed to him easily, ''like a dream''. He used his ''Big MOOG P3'' and the two Revox (one for recording, one for a delay) to record side A of the album, which included 7 tracks dedicated to ''Variations Sur Le Theme des Bene Gesserit'' and one track named after ''Duncan Idaho''. For side B, he used his Polymoog and the two Revox to record a ''Tronix'' base for a single, lengthy track, ''Paul Atreïdes''. Originally, he had thought to do an all-Moog album. But instead, he went into the Davout Studio with his guitar and his Heldon colleagues, Didier Batard (bass) and François Auger (drums) to record their instruments over the Polymoog track. All the track names derived from Dune. ''Bene Gesserit'' is a name of the race of the woman who has ESP. ''Duncan Idaho'' is a military aide of the clan of Atreides; the name also was similar to that of one of Richard's sons, Duncan, who was then a little more than one year old. ''Paul Atreides'' is a boy who corresponds to the hero of the story. But Pinhas did not want his album to be a too ''commercial'' Dune tribute, and thus chose his album's name, Chronolyse, from a work by French science fiction novelist, Michel Jeury, whose writings dealt with time manipulations.

Chronolyse came out on vinyl in 1978, released by Cobra only in France. Although it was his first solo recording, it was his second solo album release, as Rhizosphere had come out the year before. As completed, it included one side of solo, live Moog synthesizer pieces, notable for their wide, stereo field and unique sound - a product of the weeks he spent setting up and programming the sounds on his huge Moog P3 modular synthesizer. The other side was a lengthy, stormy, drone-filled, epi of mellotrons (Polymoog), electronics, guitar, bass and drums by his Heldon colleagues. In Chronolyse, Pinhas wove his separate worlds of music, philosophy, science fiction and literature, physical reality and family life into a single sonic and philosophical universe.

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WELCOME IN THE VOID



Cuneiform 2014
RUNE 391

"...two pioneers of fringe music, with the rapport of the two as the driving force behind this album" - Something Else!

Richard Pinhas, the founder of 70s legends Heldon, is one of France's best known experimental musicians and is a key figure in development of rock music fusing with electronic music.

Yoshida Tatsuya is one of the most important musicians of the Japanese experimental music scene for the last 35 years, spearheading at least a half dozen of that country's most important groups, including Ruins, Koenji Hyakkei and Korekyojinn.

For their first-ever recorded meeting, Richard's electronics and guitar merges with the percussion mastery of Yoshida for a powerful bout of musical give and take.

Welcome in the Void press release

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TIKKUN



Cuneiform 2014
RUNE 388/389

"Nearly four decades into a career spent shattering boundaries, the Parisian experimentalist [offers] fractured, distortion-soaked soundtracks." -Time Out

Richard Pinhas is one of the most uncompromising artists on the international rock scene, having remained constantly innovative and true to his personal artistic vision for 40 years.

Oren Ambarchi is a guitarist, drummer and sound-artist who has recorded with Sunn O))), Keiji Haino and Jim O'Rourke.

Somewhat surprisingly, the music on 'Tikkun' comes across as a very tasty cross between the heavy synth-driven beats of classic Heldon and the much more noisier aspects of Pinhas' work over the last decade.

This CD/DVD set features a new studio CD and a DVD of a recent live performance.

Tikkun press release

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DESOLATION ROW



RUNE 366

"The music is beautiful in its brutality" – Sonic Curiousity

"Richard Pinhas' continuing transformation...to touchstone for a next generation of abstract noisemakers continues..." – All Music Guide

"...a career spent shattering boundaries..." – Time Out Chicago

Desolation Row finds things coming full-circle for guitarist/electronics pioneer, Richard Pinhas. In a career spanning more than 40 years, pathfinder Pinhas has remained continually innovative, pioneering groundbreaking developments in electronic rock and industrial music and influencing generations of musicians. In a major recent creative surge, he has released numerous recordings over the past several years in collaboration with noise and experimental musicians, breaking further sonic ground. Desolation Row finds Pinhas collaborating with those he has directly or indirectly inspired and influenced, with the results in a class by themselves.

On the album, he is in the company of some of Europe’s cutting-edge performers in the frequently-overlapping spheres of free improvisation, jazz, progressive rock and noise — Oren Ambarchi, Lasse Marhaug, Etienne Jaumet, Noel Akchote, Eric Borelva, and his son, Duncan Nilsson — engaging in a series of six distinct works which stimulate and push all concerned through and beyond their comfort zones. This is a work that stands both with and apart from the respective oeuvres of its principals. The continually evolving Pinhas reaches ever newer artistic vistas – and draws attention to Europe’s sociological, political, and economic turmoil on Desolation Row.

Desolation Row contains some of the elements we know and love from Pinhas—dense, subtly shifting banks of sonic bliss; sustained guitar tones, textures alternately dreamlike and nightmarish, and well-nigh elemental, pulsating rhythms. Far from being an "elder statesman," this shows that Richard Pinhas is still in the thick of things, continually reinventing his musical conceptions and recognizing no conventional constraints.

Desolation Row press release

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METAL/CRYSTAL



RUNE 308/309

In Metal/Crystal, French experimental guitarist and electronic musician Richard Pinhas summons the assistance of noise artists Merzbow (Masami Akita) from Japan and Wolf Eyes from USA to weave a spellbinding aural web that spans 2 CDs.Over the years, many artists in the 'noise arena' have expressed interest in his pioneering use of synthesizers and electronics in rock and contemporary music. Pinhas has likewise been intrigued by various areas of the ‘noise’ scene and Metal/Crystal, recorded "during these two worst years of my life" reflects these influences strongly. Metal/Crystal also intertwines some of the most radical electro-acoustic sonic innovations to emerge from three different continents: Europe, Asia and North America.

Pinhas has been ceaselessly innovative in a career spanning more than 30 years, and recently has been exploring areas of the international ‘noise’ scene. His newest release shows him working with two of that scene’s highest profile artists; Merzbow and Wolf Eyes are considered to be the premier ‘noise artists’ of their respective countries. Metal/Crystal is Pinhas’ second collaboration with Merzbow, the originator of Japanese noise music. It is Pinhas’ first release with Michigan's Wolf Eyes, whom he’s worked with since 2007. In addition to Merzbow and Wolf Eyes, Metal/Crystal features several of Pinhas’ longtime collaborators: Antoine Paganotti (drums), Didier Batard (bass), Patrick Gauthier (mini-Moog) (all ex members of Heldon and/or Magma); Jerome Schmidt (electronics), whom Pinhas has recorded and toured extensively with for 2 decades; and his son Duncan Pinhas (electronics), who also helped mix the album with Laurent Peyron and Francis Gernet.

The album’s artwork, by Yann Legendre and Joy Burke, features intricate, back-and-white cartoon-like drawings, with images hidden inside larger forms. The 6 lengthy tracks on Metal/Crystal features some of Pinhas’ most melodic guitar riffs in recent years, as well as his ‘noisiest’ sonic abstractions ever.

Metal/Crystal press release

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METATRON



RUNE 228/229

"We take it for granted today, but not too long ago, integrating electronics into a rock setting was something exotic and strange..... Heldon and Richard Pinhas are considered building blocks for whole schools of experimental rock music, and one of the few who rarely fail to deliver on the hype." – Pitchfork Media

"Richard Pinhas demonstrates that he is capable of contstructing some of the most formidable but exhilharating sonic edifices ever heard by mortal ears." – Bill Tilland, All Music Guide

Metatron is over 2 hours of spacey and flowing music that isn't afraid to rock out completely as well, by French electronic rock pioneer Richard Pinhas (on guitar and electronics), with Jerome Schmidt on laptop, drummer Antoine Paganotti (Magma) and ex-Heldon members Didier Batard (bass), Patrick Gauthier (minimoog) and Alain Renaud (guitar), as well as Chuck Oken, Jr. (Djam Karet) on synths and Philipe Simon on violin on one track each. While a lot of this is definitely comparable to Tranzition, his great last album, there really is a lot more rock involved this time around, as there are drums on the great majority of tracks. In addition to all the great music, there is a QuickTime video with footage from Richard and Jerome's 2004 North American tour.

Metatron press release

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TRANZITION



RUNE 186

"Among collectors of electronic music, some names have become legendary and are present in every search list. These names include Richard Pnhas, the leader of the French cult group Heldon." – Audion

Composer, guitarist and electronics innovator Richard Pinhas is recognized as one of France's major experimental musicians. A pivotal figure in the international development of electronic rock music, Pinhas' stature in France is analogous to Tangerine Dream's in Germany: the father figure of an entire musical movement. The pioneering, aggressive music produced by his band Heldon during the 1970s, fusing electronics, guitar and rock, heralded the industrial and techno to come and remains today vital and unsurpassed. On Tranzition, Pinhas weaves beautiful, spacey, processed guitar tapestries, with added color from laptop, violin and the drumming of Antoine Paganotti of Magma. The voice of the late author Philip K. Dick can be heard on "Moumoune girl", from a 1977 tape that he gave Pinhas. The BBC described his recent guitar music as "Music that is in flux and stasis at the same time, with an almost sculptural presence, stuffed with overtones and rich textures." Tranzition is a multifaceted and richly jeweled work in which cause and effect, acoustics and electronics, taped sound and live playing change roles and even realities.

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EVENT AND REPETITIONS



RUNE 166

"...a sporadic but constant thread in Pinhas’ music has been his experimentation with guitar feedback, loops and effects boxes, even in the early days of Heldon, as he tried to perfect his own version of Frippertronics. Well, it has been a long time coming, but Event and Repetitions may well signal the full realization of Pinhas’ long-time vision. The drifting, hypnotic patterns of the five pieces on this CD? have a shimmering beauty and depth that seems to suggest a destination at the end of a long journey – and perhaps the beginning of a new journey. Although the CD cover proclaims that all tracks were performed live on guitar direct to digital recorder, many of the background drones and even melody lines have such long sustains that they sound as if they are being played on a huge cathedral organ rather than an electric guitar. The mastery of technology here is not only impressive – but also completely organic. Like all art that comes from the deeper parts of the psyche, Event and Repetitions really transcends classification." – Bill Tilland, All Music Guide

Event and Repetitions, his first solo album in over 5 years, is over 75' of music performed live in his studio with just guitar and processing systems. The music is rich in depth, detail and texture.

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SCHIZOTROPE: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MARIE ZORN



RUNE 131

The Schizotrope project was born out of a desire to honor Richard's friend, the noted philosopher Gilles Deleuze, who died in 1995. In 1998, Pinhas teamed up with French 'cyber-punk' author Maurice Dantec and Schizotrope came to North America in March 1999 for a series of shows. This album was compiled from tapes of these shows.

Featuring Dantec reading from Deleuze’ works, accompanied by Pinhas playing guitar, with sound electronically modulated in real-time by various processors, this is a musically innovative, emotionally moving, and conceptually rich fusion of those disciplines closest to Pinhas’ heart.

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DWW



RUNE 40

DWW was his final album from his initial period of work in the 70's/80's, but which was unreleased until the early 1990's.

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