Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Heldon - Stand By CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.93 | 103 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
5 stars The deepest form of blue

This is by far the most accessible album, this extraordinary group has ever done. Heldon is the brain child of French electronic wiz Richard Pinhas, who sounds like he could have grown up on sauerkraut and wursts, -sporting an approach to the electronic doodlings, that evokes both the Berliner school as well as something quite different - that I have been unable to put my finger on. I´ll get back to this later on.

The title track starts out like a bewildered gorilla in the subway - rrrrraaauuuuww rrraaaauuuwww - crass guitars, deep bellowing tribal drums and a bass fat as Burger Elvis. Pinhas sounds incredible on the guitar, and makes me think of a tripped out psychedelic Robert Fripp playing krautrock. I just love music like this, which promises very little, and delivers like you wouldn´t believe. Krautrock? Maybe - cause you never know what´s waiting around the corner - you just try to hang on to the waves of riffing that connect all of the other instruments here. The track bounces back and forth - like a viking ship in heavy seas, and when you think you´ve heard all there is to it, it changes clothes and electrifies itself, changing the form and feel of it completely, leaving the old crushingly loud guitars for a much more tranquil tapestry. A musical edition of a hermit crab.

The small teatime break of the album - the breather - the cigarette just before the big Lebowski is Une Drole de Journee. It is funky and groovy, but also contains what can only be described as robotic scatting by a non scatter. It is jazzy - and then again not quite. It is an appetizer of greater things to come, but works very well gluing two giant cyborgs together without detracting from the overall feel of the album.

The last track on Stand By called Bolero is like taking an underwater trip to the bottom of the Mariana trench. The deep blue depths of the ocean is talking to you directly through this wonderful piece of music. The synths bubble their way into your head, and what some may find repetitive and uneventful, I on the other hand see as a masterstroke of slowly evolving sounds and beats that carefully and quite reminiscent of Tangerine Dream (and then again not really) guides you in your copper diving bell towards the ocean bed. Francois Auger off Magma provides the drumming - and with a slight nod to jazz, always trying to play obscure rhythms, he delivers a much needed spice to the electronics. At the same time he is very heavy and occasionally pounds away like a heavyweight boxer with hands of led. Together with Didier Batard on the bass, the diving bell seems grounded and earthy on Bolero, even though the track threatens to dissolve into watery soundscapes. The track is divided into several sections on the back cover, but flows together as one - with only two or three defining moments, where either Pinhas pulls out his guitar and shreds like a mad psychedelic Fripp, or the synth patterns change and sounds like they are playing what they were - only backwards creating a whole new melody. At the end Patrick Gauthier, who frequently lends a helping hand on Heldon records, whips out his mini-moog and creates an effervescent solo which starts floating towards the surface, making you loose yourself entirely - and no matter how hard I try - I will always have the color blue flashing before my eyes, whenever this plays its rather nervous and almost bird twittering like electronic ballad of the sea.

The thing my finger was on about earlier, is the distinct feel of this Heldon diving experience. It is still an esoteric notion in my mind, but come to think of it - imagine pouring a gallon of thick and gooey olive oil over a rough and twisting tree branch - with the tangerine colored liquid slowly travelling across the bumps and crevices. That is the essence.

Guldbamsen | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this HELDON review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.