Pinhas, Richard - Chronolyse

Kev Rowland

In 2015, to tie in with the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert’s classic ‘Dune’, Cuneiform Records undertook the first-ever vinyl reissue of Richard Pinhas’s second album, ‘Chronolyse’. Back in 1974, Pinhas received his PhD in Philosophy from the Sorbonne, where he had studied with French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and written his dissertation, “Science-Fiction, Inconscient et Autres Machins”, on the intersections of time, time manipulation, science fiction and analogue electronic music. That same year he founded Heldon, a band that fused his searing guitar with experimental electronics to revolutionize rock music in France. Pinhas had been deeply affected by Frank Herbert’s Dune novels and the complete universe that they contained, and wanted to dedicate a full solo album to Dune. Acquiring a Moog P3 and a new Polymoog to accompany two Revox A700s he had installed in his home Heldon Studio, he spent January to June 1976, recording direct to tape. Originally, he had thought to do an all-Moog album, but instead, he went into the Davout Studio with his guitar and his Heldon colleagues, Didier Batard (drums) and François Auger (bass) to record their instruments over the Polymoog track.

The result is something that sounds as if it has come straight from Germany as opposed to France, as this is incredibly reminiscent of Tangerine Dream and early Kraftwerk. There are repeated rhythms and melodies, and with just minor tweaks one can imagine this being a hit in dance clubs through Europe. These repetitions are quite hypnotic, and are used as a base for other melodies to be placed over the top as the music drills into the psyche of the listener. I find it strange that I am coming to this album so late after the original release, as any of this style of keyboard music should be searching this out.

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