Richard Pinhas

January 10, 2007

On this heady and at times esoteric double-disc, veteran French electronic musician and guitarist Pinhas unveils dense and sometimes foreboding compositions generated from his “Metatronic Process,” which is essentially a sophisticated digital live-looping system. Rather than going it alone, however, he injects additional energy and interest by enlisting a number of other musicians to accompany his loops at various points, including fellow guitarist Alain Renaud, violinist Philipe Simon, bassist Didier Batard, drummer Antoine Paganotti, laptop looper Jerome Schmidt, and synthesists Patrick Gauthier and Chuck Oken, Jr. The tracks were assembled from both studio and live recordings, and some feature spoken word sections extracted from sources such as science fiction author Philip K. Dick and literary iconoclast William S. Burroughs.

Many of the 12 compositions are somewhat reminiscent of music from Fripp & Eno’s Evening Star period, weaving together shifting layers of sparkling synths and fuzzed-out drones, but with the addition of a rhythm section and other instruments. This is particularly true of “Tikkun (part 1): The Unification of the Name,” “Tikkun (part 2): Tikkune Zohar,” and “Tikkun (part 3): En Penta Eddenai,” which comprise about 41 minutes of the total music among them. That said, Pinhas avoids sounding too much like Fripp—something he can convincingly do, as evidenced on his work with the band Heldon and several of his previous solo albums. In addition to his skillful looping, Pinhas plays a few impassioned solos, does some cool tremolo picking, and otherwise adds color and texture to the droning structures. Looping enthusiasts and open-minded prog fans take note.(Cuneiform).
—Barry Cleveland

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