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DASHIELL HEDAYATT

Psychedelic/Space Rock • France


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Dashiell Hedayatt biography
DASHIELL HEDAYATT (real name Daniel Théron, born 5 June 1947 and died 17 July 2013) is a weird cult figure from France that was more known as a poet and a general counter culture activist.

His first album released under the MELMOTH pseudo was called "La Devanture Des Ivresses" (1970) and was long recitals of texts accompanied with music. He actually won a prize for that album and received critical acclaim.

A second album was released under the name DASHIELL HEDAYATT and he called it "Obsolete" (1971). The name DASHIELL HEDAYATT was a tribute to Dashiell Hammett (American author of detective novels and short stories, a screenplay writer and political activist) and Sadegh Hedayat (Iranian writer, translator and intellectual).
This album over the years became a real cult object because of the general freakiness, the presence of the almost copmlete GONG (many GongHeads consider this album the best they did), and the participation of beat poet and general counter culture activist Willam Burroughs going along reciting his text.

GONG will then return to their career (taking a huge step up as they will do the famous RGI Trilogy and the "Camembert" thing) while DASHIELL HEDAYATT concentrated on literature.

He used the Hedayat name for his first books before taking on the name Jack-Alain Léger in 1973. Daniel Théron published most of his book under the name Léger and had a bestseller with "Monsignore". Later he also wrote books under the names Eve Saint-Roch and Paul Smaïl.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com: A significant counter culture figure that did one of the zaniest album with GONG.

Dashiell Hedayatt official website

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DASHIELL HEDAYATT discography


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DASHIELL HEDAYATT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.43 | 8 ratings
La Devanture Des Ivresses
1969
4.40 | 56 ratings
Obsolete
1971

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DASHIELL HEDAYATT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Obsolete by HEDAYATT, DASHIELL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.40 | 56 ratings

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Obsolete
Dashiell Hedayatt Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I remember someone posting an audio clip of Dashiell Hedayatt's "Cielo Drive" and before I was too far into the song I was writing down the information as I knew I had to have this. Unfortunately my cd liner notes are in French but at least the lineup and words on the back of the liner notes are in English. Dashiell is a French poet and writer who has enlisted the GONG lineup from the "Camembert Electrique" period, in fact that album along with GONG's "Continental Circus" and the album I am reviewing all were released in 1971 and they all have a similar vibe. Of note Robert Wyatt is not on this album as a few have stated but his son Sam who was 5 years old at the time does say some "baby" words on the closing number. Sam was raised by Pip Pyle and there's a great picture of the two in the centerfold of the "Camembert Electrique liner notes I have from the same period.

We get two long suites but the first one "Oh, Mushroom, Will You Mush My Room?" is divided into 3 tracks. Up first is "Chrysler" which reminds me of GURU GURU for some reason. Check out the psychedelic guitar in the intro as vocals, bass and drums kick in quickly. I like when the sax joins in, love that tone. Catchy stuff. It's like they jam the rest of the way but check out the bass before 6 minutes. Nice. "Fille De L'Ombre" opens with water sounds as percussion joins in. More water sounds then we get spoken words, guitar and some freak-out sounds. Insanity! "Long Song For Zelda" features strummed guitar and vocals to start and they sound so good here. Drums and bass join in then we get a second guitar before 1 1/2 minutes. Dashiell offers up some theatrical vocals sounds around 5 minutes then he continues to pretty much speak the words. Sax follows adding a sexy mood. It turns freaky after 7 minutes to end it including a spoken word bit by William S. Burroughs.

"Cielo Drive/17" is haunting to begin with and very psychedelic as this hypnotic bass line joins in before a minute. Eerie sounds continue but check out that bass! Drums and cymbals join in as well. Spoken words before 4 minutes, sax too. A guitar solo from Pip replaces the spoken words before 8 minutes but the words are back quickly as the guitar continues to light it up with bass and drums supporting. Around 11 1/2 minutes we're back to that haunting atmosphere with those hypnotic bass lines. Unreal! Drums help out and then those spoken baby words from Sam arrive before 12 1/2 minutes. Flute after 14 minutes as spoken words follow. The guitar is back before 16 minutes as the vocals and sound turn somewhat bombastic. It's starting to wind down at 16 1/2 minutes until we get a dreamy, folky soundscape with vocals as it drifts on to the end of this epic track.

I can't give this less than 5 stars, it's a Psychedelic masterpiece and better than my favourite GONG albums, all in my opinion of course.

 La Devanture Des Ivresses by HEDAYATT, DASHIELL album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.43 | 8 ratings

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La Devanture Des Ivresses
Dashiell Hedayatt Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

4 stars Another lazy, crazy, but tropical passion fruit we can hear via this deep Fantasia. Sounds like this album "La Devanture Des Ivresses" would have exerted massive influence upon Francesco Currà, and actually Dashiell Hedayatt aka Melmoth's lazy, depressive voices can remind us of a stream of Psychedelic Progressive Electronic.

Especially via the weird electronic opening of the first shot "Le Voyage D'été" (suitable for a key track of this whole album methinks) we can find a terrific psychic agent. Furthermore he created a wonderful mixture of repetitive monotone phrases, powerless voices, and sharp- edged saxophone explosions. The first one "Le Voyage D'été" goes forward along with a tad pop scape and some experimental improvisational spices, based upon multirhythmic drumming, 60s-flavoured keyboard chitchat, and hard saxophone attacks. And guess we could get drenched in Melmothic clumsy psychedelia created with sedative sound agents via the following one "Vous Direz Que Je Suis Tombé". Quite inactive and downtempo this song is, but on the contrary we can notice a freedom in the early 70s psychedelic rock scene. Very interesting and impressive, innovative stuff in those days. "La Mort Multicolore", similar to the atmosphere in the previous one, is veiled in mysterious keyboard touches and irregular flute footprints. Suppose it's enough only via the A Side to discuss Melmoth um.

"Papier A Fleur" is another fusion of optimistic psychedelic phantasmagoria and authentic jazz rock. Sometimes unstable, a bit narcoleptic air we can touch but basically pleasure. And one of my faves "Le Blues Interminable De La Préposée Au Chalet D'aisance Du Bureau D'emigration"is a slow bluesy groovy boogie, that reminds us of late 50s good days. Melmoth's voices are no good as well though ... kaleidoscopic percussive keyboard work upon such a simple blues song. How amazing. One of psychedelic pop like of 13th Floor Elevators "Mary-Flora Belle" is not an innovative but a fine track, that let us sing together. In the final one "Le Voyage D'Hiver" is a refrain of the first one "Le Voyage D'été" and simultaneously the finish flavour of whisky in a glass named "La Devanture Des Ivresses" ... exactly suitable for the epilogue of this album theatre, particularly the very last elektronika.

Let me say this superb album can be thought as one of dawn breaks in psychedelic progressive rock scene. Mystic and optimistic.

 Obsolete by HEDAYATT, DASHIELL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.40 | 56 ratings

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Obsolete
Dashiell Hedayatt Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dashiell Hedayat's Obsolete is in some respects a super-secret disguised Gong album, with Daevid Allen and cronies providing instrumental backing whilst Hedayat himself takes lead vocals. It's a slightly more rock-oriented brand of psychedelia than Gong's style of the era and has less jazz influence, but nonetheless is a hidden gem of the band's history. Canterbury historians will also be happy to note the presence of Robert Wyatt, Allen's old Soft Machine ally (as well as William Burroughs himself, who gave his blessing to Soft Machine naming themselves after one of his novels thanks to Allen getting his permission), making this something of a confluence of the radical countercultural end of Canterbury.
 Obsolete by HEDAYATT, DASHIELL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.40 | 56 ratings

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Obsolete
Dashiell Hedayatt Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

5 stars Lost cheese in time

You gotta wonder how on earth a cult classic like Obsolete, an album generally believed by many Gong fans and French psych music fans alike to be the best Gong album out there - why in the name of Zorro and all that's holy this gem hasn't been reviewed since my dear friend Tom Ozric rightfully so awarded it 5 stars in late November 2007?!?!??! What the blue feck is going on?!?!?

Released as a solo album by French beat figure Dashiell Hedayatt in 1971, Obsolete offers up a musical polaroid picture of Gong metamorphosing from whimsical slightly clumsy psych rock act to the floating space creature that went on to make Camembert Electrique and the Radio Gnome Invincible Trilogy.

Without the loud and fretting fireball weaponry of Steve Hillage, we additionally get to hear what Daevid Allen is really made of - and surprise surprise if he doesn't wield that wah wah guitar like a genuine prince of marmalade. Fantastic rhythmic intonation as well as a frail melodic sense about him when soloing that really connects with me on a personal level. This album is full of understated solos and beautifully wandering riffing that Daevid does so incredible well, and you just gotta love how the band responds to his playing too. There's indeed a symbioses going down, beautiful as bees.

Together with Gilli Smythe, Pip Pyle, Didier Malherbe and Daevid Allen, Dashiel Hedayat succeeds in making one of the most sought out psychedelia remnants of the early seventies(especially if you're looking for the vinyl version), and jolly well if the reputation isn't fully deserved. This record is as charming as a pooch poo in a creme shop. The laid back almost talkative French vocals makes it feel as a refined hippie chill out album, and the foggy bass and slow swoop of the guitars certainly doesn't change this album's obvious dreamy character, yet with a fickle yet abnormally acute sense of dynamics Obsolete seems forever loveable in it's expression. It genuinely feels like the Gong boys, and girl, found their mojo on the path to making an album without their name on it. It literally oozes out of your speakers.

Adding to the counter culture imagery and the whole beatnik reverence, the dark Frankenstein and always astonishingly humorous Bill Burroughs comes in to lend a helping hand on Long Song For Zelda. Joyous irreverent as his usual self - Burroughs' small cameo somehow makes the album shift into overdrive, taking the remaining part of the album from breathtaking pulsing musical scenery to terrific jam parts that foresaw the coming supersonic 5th gear of the later Radio Gnome Invincible days. Especially the side long Cielo Drive 17 pips the atmospheres from backyard dreamings to full solar voyages peeping awkwardly out the periscope - with Daevid Allen at his most relentless and Malherbe on a most inspired flute stint waaaay above the music like a distant satellite.

I rate this among the most important French rock releases - up there with Gainsbourg and Vannier's Histoire de Melody Nelson, Igor Wakhevitch's Logos and Magma's MDK. If you're sitting out there beyond the screen thinking that you've never really heard about this Hedayatt fella, though still a major fan of the bright n orangy serpentlike Gong with all their mad gorgeous playfulness - then BROTHER you've been missing out on one of the most benign addictions known to mankind!

 Obsolete by HEDAYATT, DASHIELL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.40 | 56 ratings

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Obsolete
Dashiell Hedayatt Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Five-Star CLASSIC !!

Dashiell Hedayat's 'Obsolete' LP is a spectacular Space-Rock trip. French poet Dashiell H. latched onto the GONG commune of the time to bring to reality his artistic vision, presented through the medium of music, of his life and times during the beat/hippy era (not that I'd really know or fully understand), but on the back cover of the LP it states "Warning : This record must be played as loud as possible, must be heard as stoned as impossible and thank-you everybody" - I am no longer like this but the album is still part of my essential listening roster.

Needless to say, if you are a fan of Camembert/Continental Circus period Gong, then this album is totally ESSENTIAL. If you're not, then it's STILL totally essential !! Full-on tripped-out spacey jams full of cascading guitar glissando's and sharp soloing from DAEVID ALLEN, relentless Bass-riffs courtesy of Christian Tritsch and PIP PYLE's distinctively forceful and busy drum-work - add to that the creative sax and flute playing of one Didier (Bloomdido) Malherbe, makes for one monster of an album. Dash himself is credited with some solo guitar, keyboards, cosmic-Hedayat-rumble and cut-ups. Gilli Smyth's 'space-whisper' is noticeable at various points (credited as 'wet pleasure shout and intergalactic whisper'). All the material, 2 side-long pieces, is composed by Dashiell himself in Autumn '69, way ahead of schedule for this sort of thing, and hasn't been matched, unless one considers Radio-Gnome Gong as superlative. To this listener, 'Obsolete' is a truly must-have album, and worth its weight in gold.

 La Devanture Des Ivresses by HEDAYATT, DASHIELL album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.43 | 8 ratings

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La Devanture Des Ivresses
Dashiell Hedayatt Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3,5 stars really!!

Dashiell Hedayatt 's first Lp came out under his artist name Melmoth and it received an academic prize for its texts and adaptation to music. By all means , while an excellent album and slight hints at the perfection to be of his second album Obsolete, do not look for a masterpiece here , but an excellent album but a good mastership of the French language is necessary to enjoy it to the utmost.

But tyhe music behind the sung words is also much worthy and can even be at times more progressive than the music on Obsolete (which was really psychadelic/spacey), with superb sax interventions , great kb and percussions and vibes.

Only my desire to remain honest and not enduce prospective progheads into error , stop me from giving this album the fourth star I would give it if I was to hold personnal archives.

 Obsolete by HEDAYATT, DASHIELL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.40 | 56 ratings

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Obsolete
Dashiell Hedayatt Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

5 stars ATTENTION GONG FANS!!!!!! THIS IS FOR YOU!!!!!!

Actually some Pot Head Pixies consider this album to be the best to ever come out out of Planet GonG. Without going that far , this is an exceptional album where GonG shines like the sun. Please note that Gong had yet to record Cammembert Electrique and The Radio Gnome Invisible Trilogy, but by the time this album came out , GonG had become very capable musicians, and the "Hippy commune in Normady" was gradually phased out.

OK, now!! On with the music and Dashiell Hedayatt: After having won some litteracy prizes for his first album , Dashiell , a poet and counter-culture activist started this project that quickly involved all of Gong but also Beat Poet extraordinaire William Bourroughs - also known for his very influential books, one of which (The Naked Feast) spawned at least two group names: Soft Machine and Steely Dan . With this kind of line- up , one can only expect a total freak-out of an album , and the least we can say is that you shall not be disappointed: in the psych genre this is one of the summit. But also a strikening feature is thaty this is also a surprisingly and superbly melodic album , all this extreme zaniness is embellished by the Allen glissando guitars (at its debut only ) and Malherbe wind breaks.

The musical delire start with Dashiell singing out his hippy lifestyle living out of a pink 50's broken-down Chrysler asa his home in a back court and his troubles for tranquil love-making (this is where La Fille De L'Ombre comes in but we cannot be sure because Dashiell is not so sure himself.....) then comes in the pièce de résistance Long Song For Zelda complete with sireal travelling and ouyt of this world text from W Burroughs.

Side 2 will not give you a single momentsof rest as Gong his only getting warmed up and the side-long track Cielo Drive (Sky driving or space flying if yoiu wish) is the main theme. One comes to realize that this album is essential in the GonG metamorphosis from a clumsy hippy chysalis group (that had recoded the Brother album and signed an energetic Continental Circus movie soundtrack) to a superb and graceful space/prog butterfly that will take off through the RDI trilogy.

Obsolete is truely one of the most important album to ever having come out of France, especially true for rock fans. More than a forgotten token of a lost era , this album belong in a museum dedicated to psychadelia. I , unlike many , use rarely the word "masterpiece" , but in this case , I do!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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