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Heldon - Stand By CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.93 | 103 ratings

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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.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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