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Heldon - Électronique Guérilla CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.56 | 67 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars HELDON was formed in 1974 as the creative musical project of Richard Pinhas who at the time was only 22 years old and just about to finish his PhD in philosophy however his secondary passion was the world of progressive rock and electronic music with a special interest in the Krautrock sounds of the German scene as well as the contemporary electronic sounds that Robert Fripp and Brian Eno were conjuring up across the channel in England. A self-taught writer and recording artist, Pinhas caught the attention of the E.G. label which was home to King Crimson and Roxy Music but when he discovered that they would not release his music that would become his debut album ÉLECTRONIQUE GUÉRILLA, Pinhas decided to take measures into his own hands and start his own Disjuncta label.

To his surprise the album quickly sold 19,000 copies which forced PInhas to make a major decision, either to finish his academic studies or to jump into the world of recording music. Luckily he chose the latter and in the process also formed his own independent record label that would host other artists such as Zao and Gede Manik before becoming Ursus Records in 1975. The name HELDON came from a location in Norman Spinrad's 1972 sci-fi novel "The Iron Dream." ÉLECTRONIQUE GUÉRILLA was pretty much a Pinhas only affair but a few guests appeared including Gilles Deleuze who was one of France's early pioneers of experimental space rock and heavy psych. His narration of Friedrich NIetzche's "The Voyager and His Shadow" can be heard on the track "Ouais Marchais mieux qu'en 68 (Le voyageur)."

While HELDON would become France's quintessential experimental electronic artist, on ÉLECTRONIQUE GUÉRILLA Pinhas incorporated the German sounds of Krautrock with rhythm guitars and bass along with the tripped out electronic effects that were inspired by Fripp & Eno's "Pussyfooting" which featured oscillating loops of sound that recurred in cyclical trajectories however HELDON crafted a much more interesting album to my ears with more variations than "Pussyfooting." The short album only clocked in at 33 minutes but offered a bonafide transcendental journey into the inner reaches of outer space as well as those of the inner world. The album provided a psychedelic palette of sonic symbols that were inspired by PInhas' philosophical studies although to most of us the connection remains aloof.

While considered an anomaly in the HELDON canon, ÉLECTRONIQUE GUÉRILLA was a triumphant beginning for the prolific PInhas who would carve out an entire career based around the electronic sounds presented on this debut. This album differs from those that follow due to the alternating guitar parts with the keyboards and synthesizers. There is also percussion to be heard from time to time but the star of the show here is the multi-layered looped and sequenced synthesizer patterns that provide bizarre syncopations decorated with surreal tones and timbres. Perhaps not as original as what came after but ÉLECTRONIQUE GUÉRILLA remains a monstrous beauty of electronic drenched space rock in its finest form. Personally i find this much more interesting than many of the Fripp & Eno contributions even though this was heavily influenced by their collaborations.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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