Exposé Online banner

Richard Pinhas — Chronolyse
(Cuneiform Rune 30, 1978/2015, LP)

by Jon Davis, 2016-01-30:

Chronolyse Cover art

By this point in time in early 2016, saying that Richard Pinhas is an artist of many facets is a pretty obvious observation. Just glance through the reviews listed on his artist page, and you’ll find everything from space rock guitar to pure abstract electronics, with noise levels from ambient to intense and freaky. Chronolyse was originally released as his second solo album in 1978 (though it was recorded in the first half of 1976, before Rhizosphere, which came out in 1977), and features one LP side consisting of nine purely electronic tracks and the second side consisting of a 30 minute epic that is basically his band Heldon, with Didier Batard (bass) and François Auger (drums) joining his keyboards and guitar. Side A was all recorded live with just a Moog modular synthesizer and an extra tape recorder for delay effects, but given the result, you could be forgiven for thinking there are overdubs. For a comparison to a well-known sound, there are occasional similarities with “On the Run” on Dark Side of the Moon, with pulsing patterns varied in resonance, though Pinhas takes it a bit further and does it live in one pass. So it says – sometimes as I listen to it I’m not sure if that’s actually even possible. But no matter, it makes for an intriguing listen and a peek into the early middle days of electronic music, before digital instruments took over. Side B starts out very quietly, with the synthesizer providing some sound effects and pointillistic notes. Four minutes in or so, a tempo begins to develop with a synthesizer pulse, and around the six minute mark you become aware that a guitar has joined in – more than one in fact, with their parts weaving in and out of each other. Drums slip in a bit later, as do bass and Mellotron, and we wander into droning space rock territory. This track was first recorded as a lengthy synth-only piece in the same manner as Side A, then the musicians played along with the existing track. The result is epic, and an essential listen for fans of space rock. Science fiction fans in the audience will no doubt recognize that all of the titles refer to characters in Frank Herbert’s Dune (“Paul Atreïdes,” “Duncan Idaho,” “Bene Gesserit”), which was a great inspiration to Pinhas, though not especially relevant to the listener. Cuneiform released Chronolyse on CD in 1991, and in 2015 put out the first vinyl reissue as Rune 30LP – in either format, it’s one of Pinhas’ best.


by Mike McLatchey, 2018-05-17:

I doubt there will be a day when I feel like I've completely absorbed all of the Heldon and Pinhas titles on my shelves — there are really so many good and interesting titles crossing a lot of different styles from rock to pure electronics. But of all of them, the one that stands out the most to me is the Dune-inspired second solo album under the Pinhas name. The primary reason why it does is the nearly 30-minute second side "Paul Atreides." This stormy masterpiece of guitars, Mellotron, electronics, bass, and percussion is like a bizarre cousin of mid 70s King Crimson if you took Bruford out of the equation and ran it all through Fripp and Eno tape experiments. Waves of effected guitars scream over noises, Mellotron strings, and bass notes, almost static from one perspective and ever-shifting from another. The other side took me a bit longer to appreciate with its shorter Moog synthesizer experiments, but the thick and cyclical sounds on display here are classic analog and sound better with every listen. In many ways Pinhas had a pretty distinct science fictional vision at display (here Frank Herbert, there PKD or Spinrad), and to this day this album hasn't really dated in the least.


Filed under: Reissues , 2015 releases, 1978 releases

Related artist(s): Richard Pinhas, Heldon

More info

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Strawbs - The Broken Hearted Bride – Over the last ten years or so, Strawbs have toured and recorded in various configurations, from a three-piece acoustic trio to a fully amplified five-piece electric band. The Broken Hearted Bride...  (2008) » Read more

Tabula Rasa - Ekkedien Tanssi – Ekkedien Tanssi was the second album by this Finnish five-piece who created a type of mellow, melodic prog not unlike the music of Camel. Indeed, this album is comparable in both style and quality to...  (1994) » Read more

Egoband - We Are... – Egoband are a contemporary progressive outfit from Italy. Although their sound is generally generic hard prog, at times they throw in some surprises such as e-bowed guitar solos, Floydian drones, and...  (1997) » Read more

moe. - No Doy – It's always hard to write objectively about a band which has won over my heart, fully and completely. Such is the case with moe. For those of you who have read Expose #11, you already know from...  (1997) » Read more

Cos - Pasiones – Only guitarist Daniel Schell remains from the time when Cos recorded the great Canterbury-esque Postaeolian Train Robbery (1974), and he’s relocated to Spain. It appears that some of his new...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues