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INTERFACE

Heldon

Progressive Electronic


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars I gave the fourth star in regards with the relatively low rating from my colleague Bryan. Actually , there is no cheating here because this album does merit this kind of rating.

As with the preceding album Rêve Sans Conséquance Spéciale, if you come to grip[ with this wild experimental minimalistic music , you will find yourself riveted to your seat by the sheer power and violent intensity of the music developped by Richard Pinhas (the sole leader of this project). It really depends on how your mind (and mood) is set to understand what is developped here but Can is not far away and Fripp/Eno collaborations are also in the sonic neighborhood. Pinhas 's guitar is deeply indebted to Fripp but not cloningly so, just inspired by him.

This is the perfect album to offer at your Technohead nephew's birthday party, because this could be the start of new investigations and maybe the birth of a young proghead. In the meantime , Heldon was really groundbreaking back then and is probably often used as idea generatorship for young electro-popheads around the world. Stupendous stuff.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#32713)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not a bad album, very original too if we remember the time it was released. For those who have listened to their previous effort "Un rêve sans conséquence spéciale", this one develops a similar "tense" / rhythmical atmosphere based on sophisticated drums parts, electronic "hypnotic" effects and loops. Pinhas' electric guitar lines are as sinister and as "heartless" than before. Driven sequencers also enrich the content. The ambience delivers a mix of aggressive, intrusive elements to "supernatural", science fiction motifs. The tempo is rather fast (on "les secoupes volantes" different themes) punctuated by "spacey" interludes. Amazing stuff, maybe less menacing and "industrial" than "Un rêve sans conséquence spéciale" but we can find the same rhythmical energy. Beginners should start with "Agneta Nilsson" which defines at its best Heldon's typical sound.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#52765)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Modrigue
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Heldon's most jazzy album ! Interface is one of the most often cited release from the band but is not their most accessible. Alternating long guitar driven tracks and short electronic interludes, the musicians push away the limits of electronic music and evolves from their former records. Both very different from Agneta Nilsson and Electronique Guerilla for example, and announcing partially their future masterpiece Stand By.

The "Soucouples" interludes display a mechanical hypnotic ambient theme, evolving at each track. They sound like a soundtrack for robots going crazy ! The first long tune, Jet Girl, features a dark ambient repetitive synthetizer riff dominated by tortured guitars. Whereas the first part of the song is enjoyable, the second part, down-tempo, is rather experimental and a bit chaotic. The beginning of Bal-A-Fou reminds me a little of Pink Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets. Electronic waves evolve slightly to explode in the second part in a maelstrom of electro-jazz-rock ! Very original ! At least arrives the title track Interface, of nearly 20 minutes. Featuring slow electronic superposed soundscapes with guitar imrovations, the song is firstly interesting, but does not change much trough time, becoming therfeore repetitive and boring. As a surprise, the record finishes with a small blues rock passage !

The remastered version of the album features two bonus tracks capturing Interface played live. They are far more different, evolving, frightening and inspired than the original ! I recommend this version.

Interface sounds like music coming from a degenerated robot: very original, trippy, tortured, experimental but also quite inegal. Not the best place to start with Heldon, Interface is overall a good release from this unique band, away from other electronic mainstreams. 3,5 stars !

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Send comments to Modrigue (BETA) | Report this review (#112098)
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I really didn't think I would find a HELDON album that I would like better than "Stand By". I would suggest getting them both as these are two of the best albums I have heard from the Electronic genre. Of course Pinhas' guitar style has a lot to do with why I love this band so much. I'll also mention Auger who at times makes me laugh with joy at the way he plays his drums. Patrick Gauthier is the third and final member of the band on this recording, he plays both moog bass and mini-moog. Of note my version has three bonus songs on it that aren't tacked on the end, but are tracks 3, 6 and 7.

"Les Soucoupes Volantes Vertes" has this relentless rhythm of drums and moog bass, while Pinhas adds moog III & moog b. A constant beat for 2 1/2 minutes to open the album. "Jet Girl" opens with electronics and the drums are cool as they are all over the place.The guitar meanwhile is doing it's own version of "scorched earth policy". The song calms down 5 minutes in but is still powerful, just slower. The guitar is crying out like a caged animal. "Le Retour Des Soucoupes Volantes" is one of the bonus songs and it sounds amazing with the electronic sounds,mini-moog and drums. "Bal-A-Fou" is an Auger composition like the first track was. Lots of atmosphere as strange spacey sounds fill the air. Auger is on synths as well as drums and percussion on this song. No melody until 3 1/2 minutes in as the drums and mini-moog provide that. The bass is prominant 5 minutes in from guest player Didier Batard. A very cool sound for the last couple of minutes.

"Le Fils Des Soucoupes Volantes (Vertes)" features powerful guitar and drums.This is killer ! Way too short though. The next two songs are bonus songs "Interface-Live (Part !)" and "Interface-Live (Part 2)" recorded in Paris, France in 1978. The first has a mechanical sound to it with Auger playing synthesized percussion.3 1/2 minutes in the drums start to rise above the mechanical rhythm,but it fails. The guitar comes in and succeeds in overcoming the beat with monster-like sounds. The drums then start to become more powerful with random patterns. This continues into part 2. The drums are getting stronger,what an incredible sound as the guitar continues to cry out. "Interface" is the 19 minute finale. It starts with the same theme of synthesized percussion which really goes on for too long for my liking, although some drums and electronics are mixed in fortunately. 8 1/2 minutes in the guitar arrives with some angular melodies. The drums are fantastic ! Great sound 12 minutes in. The intensity is rising if that's possible. The guitar solo to end it is shocking. Where did that come from ?

There isn't a song on here I don't like. I'm not sure how many people out there will like HELDON's music, the way he mixes electronics with fantastic drumming and guitar playing. I'm looking forward to listening to their fifth release, as I continue to explore HELDON albums from the newest to the oldest.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#149803)
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I am glad to have discovered this band!

As Zeuhl is to symphonic prog, I would say Heldon are to electronic kraut - hard hitting and regimented. The premise behind this album is dead simple yet oh so effective. You take a fat synth, program a pattern using a step sequencer and have an acid jam over the top of it with drums and guitar. The genius is in how well this simple concept is executed and explored to the extent where the simplicity of composition really doesn't matter. The throbbing bassy moogs succesfully foretell the hardcore techno that was to come some 15-20 years later with their meaty pulse and defiant repetition. The high speed synth wailing over the top of some of the jams is particularly good with interlocking arpeggiations and dreamy tones - Take note all neo-prog and progressive metal musicians, this is how synths should sound! The acid drenched jam guitar solos are very Guru Guru and the metronomic drums round out the deal with a very intriguing mix of elements.

I've deliberately described mostly the composition and instrumentation of the music because simply saying 'kraut jams with synths' sells this guy way short. A very original take on progressive electronic music - highly recommended to fans of krautrock bands such as Harmonia, Ashra, Guru Guru and Cluster.

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Send comments to FruMp (BETA) | Report this review (#218222)
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This sixth album from the band (or the man) is not an easy one to penetrate. And I guess that I have given it up after several listening. I had the same feel about their previous and quite chaotic work "Un Rêve Sans Conséquences Spéciales".

This "Interface" is just a juxtaposition of weird moments for about forty minutes. Even if the guitar work from Pinhas saves the bill more than once ("Jet Girl"). Experimental and quite difficult to approach.

It is true to say that "Bal-A-Fou" has a definite and early Floyd feel, combined with a clear jazzy experience. It is probably the best thing featured on this work while he recurring theme of "Soucoupes Volantes" leaves me cold and wandering.

All hopes are left in the hands of the epic and title track. But there again, expectations are not met although I have never expected too much from "Heldon". Some nice avant-garde music for their early works but no great albums as far as I'm concerned.

The hypnotic (but thin) theme from "Interface" is hardly going to change my overall mind about this album. I'm not very enthusiastic about this release and I can't really go over two stars to rate the music that is displayed. In one word: abstruse. Or hermetic.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#259996)
Posted Friday, January 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Heldon make the transition into full-on industrial rock here, though with enough of their old Krautrock and Robert Fripp influences intact to keep prog audiences happy. Tracks like Jet Girl integrate industrial noise into the band's music perfectly, taking the experiments of Un Reve Sans Consequence Speciale to the next level, whilst the closing epic Interface is a pulsing maelstrom of synthesiser and wailing guitar. (The classic rock and roll riff the song closes with is a mild suggestion as to the strange sense of humour at play here). One of Heldon's most challenging and original works, demanding the listener's full attention and rewarding it handsomely.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#554231)
Posted Friday, October 21, 2011 | Review Permalink

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