Heldon- Live 1975-1979
(Captain Trip Records CTCD-550R-552R)

From Aural Innovations #36 (May 2007)

Heldon, for those who do not know, were a groundbreaking French band lead by Richard Pinhas. Heldon were very unique as they took rock music and mixed it with analog synthesizers in a very unique and special way. Richard Pinhas is a master at guitar looping (probably learned something from Fripp but then took it into his own unique world of music). This collection of live Heldon material is very special. It starts at their earliest time in 1975-76, where you can hear the raw, acidic, psychedelic nature of the band before the synthesizers started to take an equal role with guitar on the first track. He had a hell of a band backing him as well at this time. The 2nd track (Distibution Deterritorialisation) is very much based on a repetitive synth line under which (I wish it was over) Richard totally rips it up on the guitar but also does a synth solo as well. The next 4 tracks on the CD are all taken from a concert in Paris in 1975 and just feature the duo of Richard Pinhas (Mellotron, ARP2600 Synthesizer, AKS and guitars) and Alain Benaud (Guitar and analog keyboards). Heldon is Back was not that interesting, while Lady from the North devolves into a pure strange guitar solo piece, where Richard ends up just ripping it up. Hendrix would be smiling…Klossowski’s Circlus Vitosus brings the ARP2600 back and the other synths space out over the repetitive theme that eventually gets taken over by what sounds like an airplane and this leads into Death of Omar Diop Blondin and some really cool guitars take over the soundscape. Intense stuff that dies out into some feedback and synth sounds before a bit of guitar noodling (Track of Cocaine). That ends CD 1.
The 2nd and 3rd CDs are the entire concert from Nancy, France on March 19th, 1979 and feature the 3 piece line up of: Richard, Francois Auger (Drums) and Perrot Boussel (Bass and Mellotron). The CD begins with some incredibly intense drumming with some spacey synths fighting for space in the sound in the background. This leads into Heldon UFO War Machine, which slowly builds up on a synth and gets more and more intense as the drums kick in and the very intense guitar takes over and the drums gel with the synths.. It eventually comes down to just synths and bird like sounds before the next piece (which I will spare you the very very long name) begins. The track slowly spaces out over the interplay of the bass and drums. The track gets very intense like Alien Planetscapes as the drums pound and the synths trip out. Red Line Target ends the 2nd CD and returns to the interplay on the cymbals and repetitive ARP sequences, while Richard does some introductions of something in French, before getting down to business again, with some intense guitar and heavy bass underneath. CD3 features 2 18 min long tracks. The first begins with some AKS synth like sequences (Remember On the Run from Dark Side of the Moon) that slowly takes time to build. Around 7 mins, the bass comes in and the drums start becoming more intense and Richard picks up his guitar to let forth a fury of intense playing as the drums get more and more intense, Richard is practically buried in the background. Mellotronic Dune Dance ends this really excellent documentation of a very unique band who was a trailblazer at this time making music that no one else dared to try… Enjoy and also read the Heldon Retrospective in this issue of Aural Innovations!

Visit the Captain Trip record web site at: http://www.captaintrip.co.jp

Reviewed by Scott Heller

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