Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Heldon - 1975 - Heldon II: Allez Teia

Heldon II: Allez Teia

01. In the wake of King Fripp (6:36)
02. Aphanisis (2:22)
03. Omar Diop Blondin (7:26)
04. Moebius (1:52)
05. Fluence: Continuum Mobile Disjonction inclusive (12:14)
06. St Mikael Samstag am abends (6:18)
07. Michel Ettori (4:17)

- Richard Pinhas / VCS3 synthesizers, guitars, A.R.P.
- George Grunblatt / Mellotron, guitars, A.R.P.
- Alain Renaud / guitar (2)
- Alain Bellaiche / bass (3)

Don't be misled by the cinéma vérité brutality of the cover art, better suited to a Dead Kennedys LP than to a European Prog Rock album circa 1975. The second studio effort by guitarist Richard Pinhas and friends is (most of the time) actually a surprisingly mellow, almost soothing experience.

The album saw Pinhas continuing his efforts to erect a musical shrine honoring his role model Robert Fripp, believe it or not going so far as to name the album opener "In the Wake of King Fripp" (I can imagine the Crimson King shaking his bespectacled head in polite embarrassment). The track is one of several gorgeous pieces of music here, a gently unfolding study of subtle, hypnotic electric guitar textures and understated mellotron strings.

But elsewhere the album can be almost ridiculously imitative. The oddly titled "Omar Diop Blondin" (named after a militant Sénégalese activist) is an unashamed rip-off of the title track from the FRIPP & ENO album "Evening Star", released earlier the same year. The silver lining is that Pinhas could handle his guitar (and his synthesizers) with as much sensitivity and almost equal skill as his idol across the English Channel, adding a near- Krautrock awareness of radical experimentation that Fripp himself might have endorsed.

That more Teutonic side of Heldon surfaces on the album's flip side, notably during "Fluence: Continuum Mobile / Disjonction Inclusive". The name may not have the same obsequious ring as "In the Wake of King Fripp", but it's still one of the great Industrial- Ambient synth-rock track titles of all time, perfectly matching the cinematic drone of the song itself. Even better is the dark but melodic mood piece "St. Mikael Samstag am Abends": another musical refugee from the other side of the River Rhine (a better name for it might have been "In the Wake of King Froese").

There isn't a drum within earshot to interrupt the (sometimes uneasy) calm throughout the album, and the two brief interludes of unadorned acoustic guitar sound almost alarming from such a notorious musical provocateur. You'll have to look elsewhere for the usual Heldon electroshock therapy; this one has the alluring bedside manner of a well-disguised boa constrictor.



  2. Drago, Pinhas was very engaged, close to the communists in France. This picture was taken during the "mai 68" riots in Paris. Riots that would end by General De Gaulle leaving the head of the state. Thanks again and again for all the music, i've found this LP in a box at 6 am during a cold winter day in a back car sale near Paris few years ago =) I forgot the cold and pain in hands in an instant !