heldon Third (It's Always Rock 'n' Roll) (double LP, £29.95)label: Bureau B
Third album from the French space-rock electro combo masterminded by Richard Pinhas. Heldon's darkest work lays another stone in their sonic mosaic: synths, drones, fuzz and trippy improvisations. Intense Heldon!! There's something wicked happening on Heldon's third album It's Always Rock and Roll. Richard Pinhas' essential attack of searing guitar and space-bound synthesiser didn't change radically after the first two Heldon albums, 1974's Electronique Guerilla and 1975's Allez-Teia. But there's dark energy coursing through this double album, a chilly aura that makes even the quietest pieces shiver with tension. "At this time, I tried to turn Heldon into a darker band," Pinhas admits. "But dark is not negative to me." The darkness of It's Always Rock and Roll is more about exploring what's hidden and overturning convention - about diving beneath bright surfaces to find something more mysterious. If It's Always Rock and Roll stands up in Heldon's catalogue, perhaps it's due to expansion - both in the sense of big ideas and lengthy durations. Most tracks last over seven minutes, and two are side-covering epics. "I think the length of a track is part of the creation of the track," says Pinhas. "There are imperatives. You can do something very complex with a lot of events in four minutes, and then some other things need to be done very slowly. You have to do the length that it demands." "We recorded this after having met with Philip K. Dick in California for two days," recalls Pinhas. "It was such an event for a 23-year old; he was to me one of the last real prophets. We talked about Jung, we talked about a lot of things. Maybe this encounter gave birth to all of Heldon Third." So the sci-fi master spawned a dark audio creation to rival his own work. Like the Heldon albums that precede it, It's Always Rock 'n' Roll is undoubtedly Pinhas's baby. But its depth-probing sounds earned it a godfather, too.
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