Music Reviews

Artist: Richard Pinhas
Title: Chronolyse
Format: 12"
Label: Cuneiform (@)
Rated: *****
The cemented collaboration between the excellent Washington DC-based label Cuneiform and the French philosopher, electronic music composer and guitarist Richard Pinhas brings another interesting output, the first-ever reissue on vinyl (white 180 gram vinyl featuring the original cover artwork) of Pinhas's superb output "Chronolyse", an interesting hybrid between progressive rock template and analogue electronics that he dedicated to Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic "Dune" more than 35 years ago. Besides the most known influences on sci-fi literature and movies (David Lynch's discussed cinematographic version was only the most popular one), "Dune" had a remarkable impact on the imagination of many musicians, but while Klaus Schultze tributed one long-lasting track in his album "X", Richard decided to tribute a whole album two years before the release of Schulze's album (1978). In spite of the fact "Chronolyse" has been released in the same year, Pinhas recorded it on tape between June and July 1976 after the purchase of a Moog P3 and a Polymoog that should work together a pair of Revox A700 he installed in his home studio. Even if entirely inspired, Richard didn't really want to strictly match it to the name of "Dune", so that he preferred to name it after the title of a novel by French science-fiction writer Michel Jeury, whose plot was related to time manipulations, which makes sense if you listen to what Richard did on this (maybe old-fashioned) output. On one side, you'll find seven short synth-a-delic swirling variations of the same theme, that could evoke the super powers of the so-called "witches", the female members of Bene Gesserit in the novel, whose highest acolytes - the Reverend Mothers - had greatest supernatural mental powers, including Truthsay - the ability to understand when someone lied by an attentive analysis of body language, speech and other biological clues -, the Voice - a tool to control human beings by selected modulations of voice - and a set of seductive powers, but mainly a weakness: the addiction to melange, a spice that was easy to find on the desert planet Arrakis - the set of Dune -.... any bizarre similarities with contemporary science? The track that closes the first side of "Chronolyse" was named after Duncan Idaho - another important character of Dune - and sounds like a summary of some techniques explored in the first seven short experiments, while the 30-minutes lasting "Paul Atreides" on B side is the moment where the above-sketched idea of time manipulation takes the shape of something closer to progressive electronic rock and some stuff of Heldon - Richard's Heldon mates provided drums, guitar, bass and further electronics in this extremely lengthy tribute to the heir of House Atreides, an aristocratic family ruling the planet Caladan in the novel and knowingly interpreted by a youngster (but already talented) Kyle MacLachlan (the well-known Detective Cooper in Twin Peaks) in Lynch's screenplay. "Chronolyse" can reasonably be considered the meeting point of the multifaceted universe of Richard Pinhas. According to Steve Feigenbaum, the founder of Cuneiform, it's “absolutely one of Richard’s very finest works: half live Moog electronics that make fantastic use of stereo imaging and mix aggression with the repetitiveness of Phillip Glass or Terry Riley, and half with Heldon in a 30' King Crimson-ish stormy drone-epic of mellotrons, electronics, guitar, bass, & drums.”.

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