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Heldon - Stand By CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.92 | 114 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars (A translated chapter from my prog book.) The electronically oriented instrumental music of HELDON has been described as a cross between the hypnotic nature of CAN and the cold experimentalism of KING CRIMSON. It centres around the combination of synths and electric guitar, like in the case of Fripp & Eno. The frontman Richard Pinhas started his musical career already in the late 60's, but his first bands went nowhere. In 1973 he founded his own little record company that released first four Heldon albums. The innovative debut Electric Guerilla (1974) was followed by more ambientish, Terry Riley -spirited Allez Teja (1975). It contains a track named 'In the Wake of King Fripp', making it clear who was Pinhas's primary idol.

The double album It's Always Rock'n'Roll (1975) is not entirely very convincing, whereas Heldon IV: Agneta Nilsson (1976), named after a girlfriend, is graced with a solid band sound and is the best album that far. Since then Heldon's music became more and more disturbing and demanding, but the sixth album Interface (1977) can be regarded as a step forward, production-wise.

Perhaps the most recommendable one, at least for the unacquainted listeners, is Stand By which remained the final work up until the rather weak comeback album Only Chaos Is Real (1998). Multi-part composition 'Bolero' contains here and there a march-like rhythm. It has not much to do with the famous Maurice Ravel piece of the same name. Sounding relatively soft, it's among the most accessible pieces of Heldon; from the fourth minute onward the sound resembles quite a lot of Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze with all the sequencer pulsating.

'Une drole de journée' with an intense tempo is actually electro-jazz, into which Klaus Blasquiz from MAGMA adds some zeuhl- like voices. Aggressively heavy title track goes even further away from typical electronic music, giving the leading role to a roaring electric guitar.

For those who enjoy Heldon one can recommend also another French group, Lard Free, that made three Krautrock-spirited albums in 1973 - '77. Richard Pinhas has also released numerous solo albums.

[On my rating: I haven't returned to this album, or Heldon in general, very often, and subjectively speaking it would hardly deserve more than three stars from me, but I believe it to be among Heldon's finest works and so it's four stars.]

Matti | 4/5 |


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