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HELDON IV: AGNETA NILSSON

Heldon

Progressive Electronic


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3 stars Once again I was drawn to an obscure record from the cut out bin by the cover art! I had never heard of HELDON and wasn't sure what to expect,but I did love the creepy and disturbing cover art. I found the music inside as dark and ominous as the cover art. Brooding low key instumentals/wall of sound/noise/ambient(before the phrase was coined),dark textures. Not for everyone,but should please fans of early TG (throbbing gristle for those so uninformed). Don't get me wrong there is an element of pyschedelic/space here,but a little slower and scary. I haven't heard any other releases from HELDON,so I'm not sure if this lp is representive of the total sound of HELDON. But they do have a different perspective worth checking out if you are lucky enough to find something by them!

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Send comments to bob x (BETA) | Report this review (#32707)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
soundsweird
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I bought several Heldon LP's back in the 70's, when they first appeared in the local records stores' import sections. This is the only Heldon album that I kept, and eventually upgraded to CD. Not that I thought it was that great, but it does contain the one track that I like the most of any that I've heard by Richard Pinhas (and whoever else is in the group at any given time). "Perspective I", or " that Nihilism track", as I refer to it, manages to transcend Pinhas' primitive, simplistic, and usually cliche-ridden style. He's put out a lot of albums over the years, and I'm sure there's some good stuff that I just haven't heard.

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Send comments to soundsweird (BETA) | Report this review (#32708)
Posted Tuesday, February 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
jobim@jobim.c
4 stars Heldon's forth album is the first one to show more obviously their trademark style, the blend of intense electronics, distorted guitars and live drums. The pace is usually slow, not unlike their first three albums. Very recommended to anyone who enjoys Heldon, or dark electronic music. It does have some similarities with Throbbing Gristle, but TG has a more lo- fi kind of sound. From this point, Heldon gets more and more intense, noisy and melodic at the same time, peaking on the group's final album, Stand By. Pinhas's solo albums of that period follow the same evolution; anyone who likes Heldon's albums will surely enjoy Pinhas's albums too. Many of them has Heldon members as guests. Agneta Nilsson is classy, and classic electronic music. And I think I've heard it's the name of Richard Pinhas's girl at the time, or something like that.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#39851)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
5 stars This album is the French quintessential in spacey-droning electronic universe. The concept of "perspective" (song titles) linked to "the elasticity of humanity" and the "chaosmos" always refers to Gilles Deleuze and a part of the contemporary French philosophical tradition. "Agneta Nilsson" is far better than everything else written by Heldon. Richard Pinhas occasionaly abandon the "frippertronics" to let the place to hyper-visceral and hypnotic floating electronic textures. No electronic rhythms just an amazing electronic storm, with haunting, eerie, surreal sounds. The first track is just unbelievable and can remind some of electro-acoustic researches from the GRM; a spacey "kosmische" soundscape with ultra vibrating sounds. "Bassong" is a nice bass guitar ambient interlude. "Persepctive III" features an abundant use of electronic minimal (but dynamic) patterns , creating a luminous, concentric dreaminess. "Perspective IV" looks like more previous compositions of the band with glacial hypno-pulsations, driving, technical drums. Electronic grandeur and trance like (psych-acoustic) effects for a true classic!

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#103591)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was a hard one to get into. It's very experimental with loads of electronics, and the songs mostly crawl slowly along.

"Perspective I" is a dark and slow moving track with lots of mellotron, synths and electronics. The percussion is heard throughout, although it stops 6 1/2 minutes in and returns a couple of minutes later. The song ends with wave after wave of sound. "Perspective II" has these high pitched sounds while other sounds come and go in the background. Not a fan. At least it's only 3 minutes long. "Perspective III" is very repetitive with electronics as Pinhas creates some noise with his guitar. This goes on for 10 minutes before the song speeds up to end it. "Bassong" is interesting in that Pinhas doesn't take part in it. This song was composed by Michel Ettori the guitarist for WEIDORJE, who also plays the guitar on this song. Also Gerard Prevost from ZAO is featured on bass. As the title suggests the bass is prominant with gently played guitar helping out. This is the only song these two men play on. It's a beautiful track,but not Zeuhl as I had hoped.

"Perspective IV" is the final track and was a side long suite at over 21 minutes originally. Patrick Gauthier plays minimoog on this one, which is his only contribution to the album. Pinhas dedicates this song to him though. This is experimental at times especially the first section where it's dark with different sounds coming and going. The second part is more traditional as the guitar, bass and drums provide some of the best music on the album in my opinion. Minimoog comes in before this section ends. The drumming in the final section is very impressive. The song just stops abruptly.

I could see a lot of people having a hard time with this release. It has really grown on me though.The excellent guitar on both "Perspective III" and "Perspective IV" give us a hint to what is coming in HELDON's future releases.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#152470)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Heldon's work is quite difficult to approach.

If you're looking for harmony or cosmic music, this is maybe not the first band you should get into, although the first part of this album ("Perspective I"), is probably the most melodic they have written so far. Sweet keyboards almost all the way through.

What I don't like at all is the reference to the Baader-Meinhof gang ("Perspective III"). These were a bunch of terrorists or nihilists (hence the sub-title of the opener maybe) and to mention them on a record to some sort of glorifying them is out of place IMHHO. This long part is extremely repetitive but also holds some nice TD oriented patchworks.

The only track which is not signed by Pinhas is "Bassong". It is of course bass oriented but not only. This is probably due to the fact that it was written by Michel Ettori who played guitar here. A fine, tranquil piece of complex music. Yes, it is possible!

The epic "Perspective IV" opens as the previous part ended. It evolves very softly towards some Fripp guided guitar solo played upon a foreground of electronic and experimental noises. I told you, melodies are next door.

This long track is subdivided into three sections, of which the good rocking "Virgin Sweedish Blues" is my fave. The band shows a very strong unity between keys, drums and bass. Somewhat an unexpected piece of music within this maelstrom of electronics.

"Perspective IV" ends up in a kind of wild jam during which the work from "Coco" Roussel on drums is quite impressive. In all, this album might please some of the progheads from this site but not the majority I'm afraid.

Three stars for this relatively revolutionary music.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#258419)
Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've never known what to make of Heldon. For a start the name is from a 1972 Science Fiction book called 'Lord of the Swastika', in which The High Republic of Heldon was founded on the principles of killing mutants and keeping humanity pure. Which sort of gives the front cover of this album darker connotations.

Anyway, putting that aside, 'Agneta Nilsson' is an electronic album full of long washes of growling analogue synths masterminded by Richard Pinhas. (Just watch how you pronounce that awkward suname English speakers!).

Most Heldon albums sound heavily influenced by Robert Fripp. This is probably the most intense and menacing sounding of all their releases.

'Agneta Nilsson' is like a darker sounding French 'Tangerine Dream'. Less prog rock and more electronic than their others and probably my favourite of their albums. Quite different for 1976.

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#298809)
Posted Saturday, September 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This album starts to take a different direction to the groups first three albums. Leader Richard Pinhas is not doing as much Fripp-inspired guitar playing as on other albums, but drumming and percussion is now more important than before. There is also more of a 'rock' feel to some of the songs. By incorporating more of a rock sound, Heldon doesn't try to streamline their sound but the complete opposite: it makes the music more aggressive and sinister sounding. The line-up is never consistent and other than Pinhas, the only really noteworthy name is keyboardist Patrick Gauthier, who was a member of Magma at the time.

There are five tracks on the album, with four of them being titled "Perspective." Part I opens the album and is the most atmospheric and spacey song here. Steady electronic hi-hat and snare throughout. Strangely melodic in it's own way. It doesn't change much over the course of 10 minutes but is a great piece of minimalist electronic music anyway. "Perspective II" is mostly synth on arpeggiator mode with some cymbals and bell sounds. A sequencer pattern appears after a minute which gets louder and more dominant later on.

"Perspective III" starts with aggressive sounding sequencers and spacey arpeggiators. Then some noisy guitar joins in. Slowly it gets louder and more intense as it goes along. The guitar playing in the middle is more 'solo' oriented. Like part I this doesn't change much throughout. Both songs being very hypnotic. "Bassong" features no synths and no Pinhas! Just chorused guitars and some bass (or is it bass parts played on guitar?). Michel Ettori wrote this song and plays the guitars.

The first four tracks don't sound terribly different to earlier Heldon, but it's the last side-long track on the album that points the way to future albums. "Perspective IV" is itself divided into three parts. The first part is called just "Perspective IV" and opens with overdubbed guitars with at least one guitar keeping a steady picking style. Some synth squiggles enter. Eventually sequencers along with cymbals and bells are reprised from part II. The next part is called "Virgin Sweedish Blues" which is also a name of a song on the last album, It's Always Rock'n'Roll. This is a guitar riff backed by drums and bass. Heldon jams out and Pinhas solos away. Some synth soloing as well. The last part of the epic is called "Psylocybine." After the band fades away we get more sequencer patterns along with noises on cymbals and gong. Drums come in later and the sequencers get faster.

Agneta Nilsson is the middle ground between the earlier keyboard dominated albums and the later guitar-and-drums heavy albums. Sometimes this sounds like a more sinister Tangerine Dream mixed with a more jammy King Crimson. I would rate this a 3.5 but will bump it up to 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#414031)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Definitively moving out of the shadow of Robert Fripp, Heldon IV: Agneta Nilsson is a confident electronic album which arguably qualifies as one of the first works of dark ambient or ambient industrial music. The sinister, proto-cyberpunk sounds of the Perspective series in particular explores a range of dark, brooding sounds arising mainly from synthesisers before the closing Perspective IV, which brings drums and guitar back to a place of prominence in the band's music. Sleek, dangerous, and disturbing, this album is both more original and more influential than any of Heldon's preceding albums. Don't put it on when you want something sunny or comforting, but if you're in a mood for a sound reminiscent of a spookier Klaus Schulze then Heldon IV is what you want.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#548819)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Heldon's fourth studio album can be a challenging experience, even for listeners not unfamiliar with the band's extreme musical agenda. But it was here that Richard Pinhas finally distilled the influences he always openly acknowledged (the minimalism of FRIPP & ENO; the synthesized frontiers of contemporary Krautrock) into something uniquely his own.

All but one of the album's five tracks are named 'Perspective', a necessary requirement for hearing the album without losing hold of your sanity. (The odd man out is the three-minute 'Bassong': a gently unplugged cleansing of the aesthetic palate before the side-long sonic nightmare of 'Perspective IV'.) Compared to other Heldon psychodramas it's a relatively subdued endeavor, at least over the first half of the album. But the uneasy quiet of Side One (in vinyl terms) does little to mask the undercurrent of menace lurking just beyond earshot, like a slowly burning fuse snaking toward the keg of TNT hidden on Side Two.

'Perspective I' lights the match with subtle authority, underneath a near-subliminal yet melodic fog of ominous synthesizers. And no Heldon album would be complete without a nod to the radical politics of the era, here reserved for 'Perspective III', subtitled 'Baader Meinhof Blues': an act of musical agitation built around some of the most distinctive guitar work yet heard from Pinhas, improvised over an urgent, aggressive sequencer pattern. The band's range is even better revealed in the episodic 'Perspective IV', filling all of Side Two on the original LP. Two of its three sub-sections borrow their titles from the previous Heldon album, 'It's Always Rock and Roll' (1975), but don't expect to hear any similarities between them.

Hardcore Heldonistas might remember the calm, aquatic guitars of the 1975 'Virgin Swedish Blues', suggesting a gentler variation of Fripp & Eno's 'Swastika Girls'. But for its encore appearance here (perhaps meant to counterbalance the earlier 'Baader Meinhof Blues') the track becomes a cathartic, one-chord blitzkrieg of furious jamming, finally allowing the rhythm section to slip its leash and go on a bloody rampage. The medley concludes with the hyperactive 'Psylocybine', taking its name, all-too appropriately, from the scientific term for psychedelic mushrooms, and ending with the abruptness of a severed lifeline.

The schizophrenic attack of the album's latter half is impressive, but the quieter opening tracks are no less confrontational, pioneering an ambient/industrial style years ahead of their time. It all adds up to the perfect adventure for intrepid fellow travelers willing to brave the outer limits of inner space electronica, well worth the effort needed to survive it from start to finish.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#832122)
Posted Tuesday, October 02, 2012 | Review Permalink

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