Richard Pinhas - Reverse LP+CD
Label: Bureau B
Richard Pinhas, leader of French space-rock pioneers Heldon in the '70s, has been prolific since returning to the form in the '90s. He has collaborate with Merzbow, Yoshida Tatsuya, Oren Ambarchi, Barry Cleveland, and Wolf Eyes. "Changes in my life really influenced this record," Richard Pinhas tells of his new album Reverse. "The wife of a friend of mine offered to read my Tarot cards... I don't believe in it - I am very materialist, not financially but in my philosophy - so it was very strange that in the year that followed I lost my two parents, broke up with my girlfriend, lost my flat, and moved to Nantes. So the album was done in this confusion, in this chaotic state of having lost all these things." Reverse's dark experimental noise and long repetitive tracks have an intimidating first impression. But listening to the whole 50 minutes leaves one feeling purified. Pinhas even says this album "fixed" and "resurrected" him: "It was a healing process for me to make this album. To get rid of all the negativity that occupied my brain." The main process of the album production was one of construction, with Pinhas and Oren Ambarchi (guitars, "dronz") forming the skeleton. After the initial sessions in Paris, they threw out everything except their own parts and then started searching for "the right parts. Not a drummer, but the drummer, not a bass guitarist, but the bass guitarist." He enlisted the talents of Arthur Narcy (drums), Florian Tatar (bass) along with Masami Akita (analog synths), his son Duncan Nilson-Pinhas (digital synths), and William Winant (percussion). Reverse reflects Pinhas's keen interest in Kabbalah. "Ketter" is an unknowable realm and the music reflects this. We catch traces of elements traversing the spectrum while the whole retains its own mystery. Pinhas's immediately recognizable tone is tempered by Narcy's unique drumming style. "End" reflects the "Reverse" of the album title, as sounds double back in on themselves whilst Narcy, frantic on the cymbals, pounds the drums themselves with military precision. "Nefesh" is the first level of the soul, the track's percolating sounds depicting such a pneumatic birth. "V2" brings to mind both Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973) and David Bowie. It sounds like the aftermath of an enormous futuristic electrical malfunction still lingering over a vast cityscape. Cover art by Yann LeGendre.