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Heldon Stand By album cover
3.92 | 114 ratings | 19 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bolero (21:44) :
- Apprehension
- Bolero proprement dit
- Recognition
- Repetition
- Rote Armee Fraktion
- Production
- Distribution
- Deterrioration
2. Une Drole de Journee (3:59)
3. Stand By (14:04)

Total Time: 39:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Pinhas / guitar (1,3), programming (2), Moogs & sequencer & vocoder (1)

- Patrick Gauthier / MiniMoog, PolyMoog & piano (2)
- Didier Batard / bass
- François Auger / percussions
- Klaus Blasquiz / voices (1,2)

Releases information

Artwork: Patrick Jelin

LP Egg ‎- 900 578 (1979, France)

CD Spalax ‎- CD 14233 (1991, France)
CD Belle Antique ‎- BELLE 121961 (2012, Japan) Remastered by Kazuo Ogino

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HELDON Stand By ratings distribution

(114 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

HELDON Stand By reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars Remember the movie "Videodrome"? David Cronenberg's bizarre fantasy/satire starred James Woods as a cable TV pornographer who stumbles on a mysterious pirate transmission of hardcore S & M, exposure to which can lead to wild hallucinations and horrifying physical mutations (Woods develops a gooey, organic VHS tape deck in his tummy).

I only mention this because it's entirely possible that the music of Heldon may generate a similar effect. There was always something dangerous, if not downright seditious, about their sound, best described as the musical equivalent of guerrilla warfare (an early album was even entitled "Electronic Guerrilla"). Under the leadership of guitarist Richard Pinhas they patented a blend of proto-industrial-ambient electronica, long before such labels became fashionable, and worlds away from the comforting Utopian vistas of most '70s Progressive Rock.

My memory of their early, more radical stuff is (perhaps thankfully) somewhat hazy now, but this 1979 release is easily their most accessible effort, and possibly their best. It was also the last album of the original group, although Pinhas continues to tour and record, with occasional help from his ex-Heldon bandmates. But they went out with a bang, to be sure.

The track list (all three titles) was shuffled for the CD reissue, with the monster title track better employed as the curtain raiser here. This one doesn't waste any time with polite introductions; it simply grabs the unwary listener by the throat with a savage 14- minute instrumental assault of synth-laced guitars and aggressive rhythms.

Talk about an attention getter, but the track is mis-titled. "Stand By"? Consider yourself fortunate if you don't end up running around the room in a blind panic, clawing the walls and tearing at your headphones like a gibbering idiot. Power chords have rarely sounded so powerful before, and the almost regal majesty of the last few heavy metal minutes does little to alleviate the near relentless brutality of the preceding jam.

By comparison, the more concise and playful "Un Drôle de Journée" functions almost like comic relief: a four-minute, caffeine driven sprint through a maze of racing sequencer arpeggios and busy (acoustic) drum patterns. Special guest Klaus Blasquiz, of the Kobaian band MAGMA, provides the "voices" (not "vocals", take note).

All of which leads to the almost 22-minute "Bolero", a typically open-ended Heldon epic, composed (with plenty of room for improvisation) by Pinhas and drummer François Auger, credited here with "Kölossal" Percussive (another Zeuhl reference?). The track bears no relation to the Maurice Ravel orchestral masterpiece, except perhaps in its trance-like repetition, divided here over eight strictly nominal sections. Good luck trying to find the divisions: it all sounds very homogenous to me, a mix of endlessly pulsing analog synthesizers and long, discordant guitar solos. Pinhas made no secret of his admiration for KING CRIMSON (even, believe it or not, naming an early Heldon song "In The Wake of King Fripp"), and most of "Bolero" sounds not unlike a collaboration between Fripp at his mid '70s fractured best and classic TANGERINE DREAM.

Undiscriminating listeners might call it boring; I prefer the word hypnotic. Either way the music is its own altered state, with no other chemicals required, and was so impeccably produced it might have been recorded yesterday. But if, while wedged between the headphones, you see (or imagine you see) a compact disc cartridge emerging from your stomach, dripping with viscera, don't say you weren't warned.

Review by hdfisch
2 stars It's probably because I don't like so much minimalistic and electronic music, that I have to call this album a bit overrated. For me such kind of music sucks in a way, it's just offering too little variation to hit my attraction. The tracks are endlessly long and most of the time it sounds like a broken disc. That's the reason why stuff like Fripp's solo works, Tangerine Dream and so on cannot really fascinate me. IMHO this album can only be recommended for fans of minimalistic music or maybe young techno freaks might be attracted by it!!!
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Heldon's final abum before Pinhas continued under his own name. This album is their most accessible but still not that easy a listen. I would actually call Stand By their more polished or refined album but still think that Rêve or Interface as their more accomplished on an adventure or artistical point of view. Heldon is generally not classified as Krautrock because of the French nationality, but Heldon and Lard Free could easily be considered as such.

Again we find the usual collaborators Gauthier, Auger & Batard in fine form especially for Auger in the drumming dept. Klaus Blasquiz (of Magma fame)is here as guest for some vocals (if you can call those that - I think a vocal instrument is more suitable a definition) and the usual feel of Tangerine Dream melting into Can with Fripp & Eno is the best way to describe the music present on the album. the side-long Bolero is maybe my fave track from Heldon and it is captivating/hypnotizing you (and I am not sure it is wise to listen loud to this in the car during heavy trafic) to the point of no return.

Strange decision of Pinhas to stop the Heldon name and forego with his solo career. His first two album are much worth a listen also especially Rizospheres.

Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a brilliant album! This is probably Heldon's most accessible and popular release, and there's good reason for that. This is certainly crazy stuff, and honestly, I consider Mr. Pinhas to be up there with my favorite guitarists. Sure his sound is a similar to his British contemporary and King Crimson leader, Robert Fripp, but IMO, Pinhas is a bit more refined, especially as a solo artist.

There is not one moment on here that is in any way bad. I have to say that this album is extremely consistent and always keeps my interest. The hypnotic effect this album gives off is insane. Some moments are very heavy, almost metal at times, but never cheesy, and always interesting. This album is not in the same vein as the most famous Progressive electronic artists (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, etc...), but still is completely electronic.

This is the best place to begin your journey with Heldon in my view. Not everyone will like this type of album, but it's defintely worth a try for the adventerous Prog (or electronic) fan. I know I recommended this to a person who hardly knows any prog (they were mainly into indie rock and some experimental music), and they absolutely were enthralled by it, as was I. 4.5 stars, this is definitely one of Pinhas' best moments.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Freak n' roll essay with a great dose of killer guitar sounds. Heldon at their rockiest and heaviest moment for impulsive, strange and epic spaciousness. The title track features veritable amazing guitar parts (better than before) with a dense freaked out dimension: aggressive and trance like style at the same time. "Une drole de journée" is a meticulous funky, jazzy psychedelic weirdness more in the genre of RIO / avant prog. The Bolero's serie constitutes my favourite moment: gorgeous, obsessed dronescapings in a very dark tone with fascinating electronic "patterns" (for the three first parts). This serie is composed as one single track with many variations and different musical ingredients, completely immersive with endlessly haunted electronic atmospheres, nice drum parts, sometimes punctuated by Pinhas' best solo guitar works (for the last parts) A discreet musical scission with previous albums, less electronic and experimental and more orientated to sonic rock improvisations. The most complex Heldon album, entirely original and captivating.
Review by Modrigue
5 stars HELDON's best album

"Stand By" clearly represents the pinnacle of the french band's craft, a perfect balance between synthetic hypnotic electronics and tortured Fripp-ian guitars. With their last 70s' album, HELDON finds at least the best achievement of the music they were searching. This frightening album could be easily described as the soundtrack to the descent into madness.

The 14 minutes title track opens the record with a terrorizing guitar sequence, setting immediately the athmosphere for the rest of the tune. Then come from the nothingness dark gloomy riffs which will take you in front of your deepest fears! You are locked in a cage and cannot escape. Mad guitars become angrier and angrier to let robotic synthetizers appear; the listener is in an unknown hypnotic place. The melody become once again heavy and agressive and enters the gates of delirium to end finally in the despair. Terrific!

In opposition, "Une Dröle de Journée" arrives as a light transition track. This song features really good kind of science fiction electronic jazz, with many changes in it. Unique, trippy and spacey. The last tune, "Bolero" is the longest piece of the disc and is a true electronic journey into your mind. It could easily have been a soundtrack for Dune. The overture is dark and mysterious, almost if there was an epic battle in space. Then hypnotic sequenced melodies appear; you are in a computer maze trying to find your way. Once you managed to escape, you discover another mysterious mystical soundscapes. A true meditative electronic place, which elvolves and takes you to immetarial spaces... Magic !

Very innovative and totally different from the electronic music acts of the time, "Stand By" is by far HELDON's most accessible and achieved work. A genuine masterpiece of electronic progressive rock. Dark and deep...

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I saw this band mentioned glowingly on the Zeuhl thread on this site, but when I saw they were Progressive Electronic I didn't bother to check them out. What an idiot I am ! This was love at first listen. I enjoyed Richard's guitar work on a 20 minute epic on Jannick Top's solo album. That is what prompted me to finally check HELDON out. There is a definite connection between this band and MAGMA as both Patrick Gauthier and Klaus Blasqiuz take part on this record.

There aren't enough adjectives for me to describe how much I love the title track. I got so excited the first time I heard it, and will go out on a limb by saying it's the best song i've heard in months. And that is saying something. About a minute into it you get this almost doom-like soundscape, as heavy bass and drums create both thunder and darkness at the same time. At this point i'm taking back all the bad things i've said about this genre. Haha. And i'm turning it up really loud. About 5 minutes in the doom-like melody stops as the tempo picks up. We are still getting heavy bass and drums, just faster and not as heavy. This is great ! Some incredible sounding drum work 6 1/2 minutes in as it signals another change as we get some electronics for the first time. Check out the blistering guitar that joins in with the electronics. Nice. 9 minutes in we get a good head banging melody. The heaviness is back 11 minutes in as it slows down. Check out the drumming.

"Une Drole De Journee" is a Gauthier composition. This is more in the TANGERINE DREAM style with a twist. The twist being the vocal melodies from Blasquiz. "Bolero" is a side long suite at over 21 minutes. It opens with spacey sounds and drums, before different sounds come and go, and then marching style drums come in. An electronica melody arrives before 4 minutes. The synths are shooting around. This melody ends 9 1/2 minutes in as a new one starts up. The excellent guitar of Pinhas grinds out some melodies 11 minutes in. This is a treat ! Percussion is followed by some ripping guitar 16 minutes in. This is such a cool album the way they have balanced the guitar and electronic styles. This is more witnessed on the final track, as overall the guitar wins out, which is partly why I like this album so much.

I can't recommend this album enough. 4 .5 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars I have had some difficulties to appreciate Heldon's music so far. Even if catalogued under the prog electronic genre, there is little to compare to TD or KS in the whole bunch of their works.

In my opinion, the music overall played during all these years do hold more of a loose Crimson than anything else. But that's just how I feel. There are some "Sabbath" and gloomy sounds during the long "Stand By" which is actually quite good (especially thanks to the brilliant and hypnotic closing sequence) but it is quite too short to make it unforgettable.

I ain't under the impression of the jazzy and short " Drôle de Journée". Indeed a rather weird track (as the original French title could evoque).

Now, there is an epic long side track called "Boléro" in here. It is of course not the first time that this Ravel title has inspired prog bands. To tell you that this one is my preferred version would probably be too optimistic. Fine parts for sure, but overall lacking in subtleties and passion.

There are even some true good old TD converted parts available ("Proprement Dit"). But are we talking about "Boléro" or anything else? Unfortunately, most of this track has the same base of rhythm and after all sounds pretty dull. Organic, synthetic: but not cosmic. This is how I can summarize this version which is heavily marked with the Crimson seal ("Repetition" - would you believe! as well as parts V and VI).

The fact that the band refers again to the "Rot Armee Fraktion" is not of my liking either. These were just a bunch of terrorists who deserved what happened. To make reference to this group of peopleis not relevant IMO.

All in all, this album sounds as quite dull to my ears. Two stars, no more.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you love '70s Tangerine Dream as much as you love '70s King Crimson, then you will love this album. A great place to start with this French outfit, led by guitarist/synthesist Richard Pinhas. This is a lot more accesible than most of Heldon's music, but don't expect anything that would get played on the radio. The sound here continues the synth/guitar/drums assault of the previous three albums, as compared to the mostly drumless first three. Pinhas is sometimes called the "French Fripp" for obvious reasons: his guitar tone and playing is very similar to the Frippster. Heck, on their second album there is even a song called "In The Wake Of King Fripp".

Of course, Fripp was never into analog synthesizers like Heldon. Besides the KC and TD comparisons, there is also a slight Zeuhl influence here as well. The reason for that influence is the presence of two members of Magma. Vocalist Klaus Blasquiz appears on one song, and keyboardist Patrick Gauthier(also in Weidorje at the time) is a member here. Drummer Francois Auger remains from previous Heldon and Pinhas solo albums. There are only three songs here, but some CD versions have the epic "Bolero" as eight seperate tracks.

"Bolero" starts off as a typical bolero with military style drumming and synths building up. Then Tangerine Dream style sequencers come in and the drums play in a more rock fashion. A little bit of vocoder vocals. Later the drums stop and a different sequencer pattern comes in. Drums come back with the emphasis on the bass drum. Then bass and guitar join in. Some great guitar playing at this point. Lots of spacey synth sounds throughout the piece. Later on a sax- sounding synth starts to solo. At this point the drumming is more steady and the bass is almost soloing. Ends with some atmospheric synths.

"Une Drole de Journee" is written by Gauthier. The sequencer programming here is similar to his Fender Rhodes playing in Weidorje. This song features Blasquiz doing some scat-singing at the beginning. Later some piano and accordion-like synth with bass and drums. In the middle it changes to sequencers and a different beat. Music fades out and then droning sequencers before it fades back in again. The song "Stand By" itself is the highlight of the entire album. Pinhas' guitar playing in this song is just great.

After some sequencers and guitar, the song settles into a nice groove with Pinhas soloing over top. Later switches to a more menacing section with sequencers and Pinhas riffing metal style. In the middle some TD-style sequencers as the bass becomes more funky and melodic with more Frippish guitar soloing. After a drum fill the tempo increases with some fast metal style guitar. The drumming in this part is good. Later tempo slows down, sequencers stop and there is some great melodic bass playing.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes lots of synths with their heavy guitar. Or vice versa. The three previous albums are also worth checking out, but Stand By is the place to start. For 1979 this is some excellent mostly instrumental progressive rock. 4 stars.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars Aside from the rather repetitive and one dimensional electric guitars by Richard Pinhas, this is an excellent electronic prog album. The 14 minute opener sounds pretty much like King Crimson in a grungy manner with some Klaus Shulze electronics thrown in.

The most appealing thing about Heldon are the keyboards, which are monolithic in application. And there's lots of them!

Heldon were always instrumental, and I can't help thinking that a few vocals in small doses might have helped along the way, particularly if sung in French. There's always something missing that I can never quite put my finger on.

'Stand By' is certainly one of their better recordings, and is quite intense, if listened to carefully. The unimaginatively entitled 'Recognition' sounds incredibly like Tangerine Dream circa 'Force Majeure' and is probably the highlight of the album, choc full of brilliant analogue synths. Patrick Gauthier (of Magma fame) contributes as dual keyboardist.

The best description would be: A more energetic Tangerine Dream '77 to '79 with more edge and uneasiness throughout.

It pushes for 4 stars, but the guitars do grate a little. It's different and entertaining, I'll give them that, but come on... the cover really is pretty bad isn't it?

Review by Guldbamsen
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.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Far and away the best Heldon album, Stand By takes Interface's intoxicating mixture of proto- Industrial, Krautrock, mid-1970s King Crimson and a little bit of Zeuhl and melds all the influences on that album into a singular and unique sound. Synthesisers and guitars blare forth and it's hard to tell which of the two are more aggressive, particularly on the standout title track, a dizzying rapid-fire tour through everything that made the band great. Simply put, this is Richard Pinhas' masterpiece, a seamless fusion of the most violent outgrowths of hard rock and electronic music into a nightmarish, unstoppable killing machine. Handle with care, because this one is explosive.
Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars One of the first and most powerful examples of where progressive rock and early electronic music collide with vigor.

Stand By is a mammoth of purely interesting electronic rock that shows definite talent in the musicians, but, in my opinion, doesn't always work. The intent and promise is there, but kind of seems too overly epic for its own good.

Immediately, it becomes obvious that this album is very powerful as "Bolero" pounds its way through the speakers with a Mahler- or Shostakovich-esque force combined with an increasingly ham-fisted Force Majeure-like acoustic percussion. It's not a bad track, and has a very commendable amount of worthy proggy moments, but it often seems too unrelentingly epic to the point where they seem to be trying way too hard to be so much more rock than is necessary. Also, I really think Pinhas is a great and innovative guitarist, but I'm not sold on the post-Hendrix soloing method he employs during the last half of the track. There are also a few funk-ish moments that sound similar to what a Tangerine Dream/Goblin collaboration may have sounded like, which doesn't really work too well in my opinion.

"Une Drole de Journee" is slightly more subdued in needless synth orchestral epicness, but this is dampened by the continuously heavy-handed drummer and wonky avant-rock moments. This track is very disjointed in composition and is abound with arbitrary confusion, like the opening vocals that start this track of sounding like an electronic zeuhl experiment (which could honestly be done successfully if given more attention) and a random moment of empty bubbling that serves no purpose.

The title track is the heaviest and rockiest track on the album, strong with the sharp electric rock guitar soloing and pounding drums flowing at a pace similar to most sludgy doom metal. It doubles its speed near the half way point and becomes a noisy and flashy metal showoff powerhouse that simply sounds like self-destruction. However, the bass on this track is very thick and intense; it sounds great and is the single most interesting element of this track, but it doesn't save the song entirely.

This was my very first Heldon album and I've been listening to it off and on for almost two years now, and I feel bad that it hasn't grown on me at all considering the amount of praise it has received. Regardless, it does have its moments. Their other, less heavy albums seem more interesting and compositionally complete, but I do think Stand By is a good jumping off point for fans of progressive rock looking to get into progressive electronic, only because of it's profound rockiness.

Review by admireArt
4 stars If I could think of an album in the electronic/prog category, that would appeal to non-followers of this world, it will be undoubtly "Stand By", one of Heldon's best works. This one alone travels the routes, that somehow, now are such a novelty. Having listened to a lot of new bands of the after Porcupine Tree (Steven Wilson) era, I went back in my collection to re-listen to this 1979 Heldon project. I was right, this work outlined a lot of what now are considered "new" Prog genres. Outlined and predicted in those early years. Of course there is no sticking to a particular genre, but pre-defining, at least four different ones (neo-prog, post-math, post-metal, heavy-prog and brushing with the Canterburies, eclectics, and Rio/AGs, or simply Hyper/crossover). Now, that all this can happen in a 3 song album that lasts less than 45 minutes, is something to praise and recommend. This was done, of course, without that kind of irrelevant purpose. It has to do more as an outgrowing development in basically Richard Pinhas ( Heldon's headmaster) compositional skills. This record is a consequence of this and it shows it entirely. Mr. Pinhas just the year before released one of his best solo works "Chronolyze" and Heldon's "Interface". He was on a streak of high creativity and "Stand By" by luck (for us), got the best of that. Therefore each song travels simmultaneously a different route, never felt until you are there in the middle of each song, and realize that Heldon's language is covering a lot of spaces, which at the time were non strictly electronic/prog material and now could even be considered new. WOW! ****4.5 near to perfect and way ahead of its own time in the Prog world, PA stars.
Review by Matti
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.]

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 183

Heldon is a French band formed in the 70's by the guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Richard Pinhas. He is sometimes called as the 'French Fripp''. The name of the band was taken from the 1972 novel 'The Iron Dream'', by Norman Spinrad. Heldon can be identified with their creator and leader Pinhas. He was a passionate about science fiction novels, a theme that will often recur in his career, and he was also a great passionate of music. Pinhas began by absorbing Jimi Hendrix as an adolescent, leaving that behind at the beginning of the 70's, after having heard what Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock were doing with synthesizers. And it was then that he discovered the duo Fripp and Eno.

It was in 1974 that Heldon released their debut studio album, ''Electronique Guerilla''. The main idea was to rock and roll on electronic machines. Pinhas was, of course, playing electric guitar, but he was also interested on synthesizers, the A.R.P., VCS 3, and Moog. This was the beginning of the 70's. Heldon released some very important studio albums among which a trilogy that started with the sound of 'Un Reve Sans Consequence Speciale'' continued with 'Interface'' and was concluded with 'Stand By''. In total, between 1974 and 1979, seven important albums were released by Heldon.

'Stand By'' is their seventh studio album and was released in 1979. The line up is Richard Pinhas (guitar, Moog, Polymoog, vocoder and electronics), Patrick Gauthier (Mini-Moog, piano, Polymoog and keyboards), François Auger (percussion and Kolossal percussive), Didier Batard (bass), Klaus Blasquiz (voices) and Didier Badez (sequencer).

'Stand By'' was Heldon's last studio release. However, in 1998 it was released an eighth studio album 'Only Chaos Is Real'', with slightly different personnel. Of the traditional line up only Pinhas was present. But, this is an album that cannot be considered belonging to their classic era. It's a strange cross of punk vocals, techno beats and the usual repetitive minimalism. It even doesn't approach at the concept of Heldon. I don't know why Pinhas reformed this band.

'Stand By'' features the classic trio line up with Auger, Gauthier and Pinhas, with some additional assistance from Batard, Badez and the help of Blasquiz of Magma. With 'Stand By'', Heldon truly stands out as a band of the musical experimentalism in the 70's. Heldon successfully blends and incorporates the influential, innovative and original music of their time that expresses the musical freedom and boundary pushing that thrived during those times. You'll hear elements of the 'Berlin school'' electronics (Tangerine Dream), jazz fusion, hard rock chord changes and blistering guitar solos that reference everything from Jimi Hendrix to Robert Fripp in his King Crimson's days. But you'll also can hear something no one else ever gave you, and that is Heldon's own sound. No matter how, but they sound like Heldon.

About the tracks, 'Bolero'' is a good example of what we could play with a guitar and a synthesizer in the 70's. 'Bolero'' is a 22 minute suite based on the classical bolero's formula. 'Bolero'' can be considered, in my humble opinion, as one of the best pieces of electronic music ever released. The expansive 'Bolero'' is a reminiscent of the Berlin school music, but with a real rhythm section and some Blasquiz vocals. Pinhas lays back on the guitar on this release, particularly in the latter stages, wisely serving the compositions even when it means a lesser showcase for his own abilities. This is a track with a bunch of some of my favorite things on prog. 'Une Dr'le De Journ'e'' is the shortest track, but still is a very complex track. Sometimes, if I don't pay attention, I actually think this is something from Vangelis during his 'Heaven and Hell'' album. It plays up the electronic and minimalist elements a bit and has an amusing Magma vocal line not atypical of French progressive rock bands, in general. The title track starts like a great heavy rocker from the early progressive rock bands, in King Crimson's vein. Then the guitar takes over and we get a great jam. Then a little Yes' like interlude, with great drumming of Fran'ois and then the last part goes off into outer space. With track 'Stand By'' Heldon managed to create one of the heaviest songs of the 70's. It's full of metal, futurist synthesizers and drudging base lines that creeps slowly at first and ends up with guitar and hard yet precise drumming.

Conclusion: 'Stand By'' has to be hailed as Heldon's signature work. It contains everything that is good about Heldon. It's Heldon in their mature glory and perhaps no other band was able to toe the line between electronic and progressive rock. Progressive rock drums, bass and guitar blend and merge with bass synthesizer pulses and arpeggios, jazz keyboard solos ride overtop jittery electronic sequences, compositions move from dark moody electronic soundscapes to frantic, pulsing rhythms and then transform into improvisational jams or spacey laid back passages embellished with slithering, smoking guitar solos. This is Heldon at their most experimental and aggressive originality. This is Heldon at their most focused and purely stated. 'Stand By'' is an outstanding document of one of the good things that happened in the 70's. It's compelling and satisfying. Really, this is Heldon at their very best and you owe it to yourself to hear it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

5 stars This very much the easiest to listen to album by Heldon, the changing musical scene presented in "Bolero", the almost comic sound of " Une drole de Journee" and the crafted rock and (sometimes) roll of "Stand-by" give the listener a changing landscape of sound. RP is a master of his guitar, a ... (read more)

Report this review (#224770) | Posted by Krautrocker | Monday, July 6, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is the last Heldon's studio album and one of their strongest and dense recordings. The album consists of three compositions. The first one Stand By is very energetic with aggressive guitar and excellent bass work. It is a long 14 min piece. The next one Une Drôle de Journée is an electronic ... (read more)

Report this review (#32715) | Posted by Foxy | Friday, October 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great music! Spacey keyboards (Moog, Polymoog), excellent acoustic drumming, electronic devices well tempered. The guitar solos are long and awesome, which proves the virtuosity of Pinhas. The addition of Klaus Blasquiz's voice (Magma) in one song, gives it a strong freshness. I don't like el ... (read more)

Report this review (#32714) | Posted by Melos | Sunday, September 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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