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Cuneiform Records is proud to announce the first-ever vinyl reissue of Chronolyse, the masterwork of 1970s analogue electronics that French electronic musician and guitarist Richard Pinhas created in tribute to Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic, Dune. This special reissue, pressed on 180 gram white vinyl and featuring the original album artwork, celebrates Chronolyse's conception nearly 40 years ago as well as the 50th anniversary of Dune, the first volume of which was published in 1965.
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. By 1976 Heldon had released several albums on Pinhas' Disjuncta label (one of France's first independent labels), and began working on a new album, Interface. Simultaneous with the Interface sessions, Pinhas immersed himself in a highly personal and heartfelt solo project. He had been deeply affected by Frank Herbert's Dune novels and the complete universe that they contained, and wanted to dedicate a full album to Dune. Acquiring a Moog P3 and a new Polymoog to accompany two Revox A700s he had installed in his home Heldon Studio, Pinhas now had the perfect analogue electronic arsenal to weave his own sonic and philosophical universe in response to Dune's.
Between January and June 1976, he recorded his Dune tribute on Moog and Polymoog direct to tape; he recalls that the music flowed to him easily, ''like a dream''. He used his ''Big MOOG P3'' and the two Revox (one for recording, one for a delay) to record side A of the album, which included 7 tracks dedicated to ''Variations Sur Le Theme des Bene Gesserit'' and one track named after ''Duncan Idaho''. For side B, he used his Polymoog and the two Revox to record a ''Tronix'' base for a single, lengthy track, ''Paul Atreïdes''. 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. All the track names derived from Dune. ''Bene Gesserit'' is a name of the race of the woman who has ESP. ''Duncan Idaho'' is a military aide of the clan of Atreides; the name also was similar to that of one of Richard's sons, Duncan, who was then a little more than one year old. ''Paul Atreides'' is a boy who corresponds to the hero of the story. But Pinhas did not want his album to be a too ''commercial'' Dune tribute, and thus chose his album's name, Chronolyse, from a work by French science fiction novelist, Michel Jeury, whose writings dealt with time manipulations.
Chronolyse came out on vinyl in 1978, released by Cobra only in France. Although it was his first solo recording, it was his second solo album release, as Rhizosphere had come out the year before. As completed, it included one side of solo, live Moog synthesizer pieces, notable for their wide, stereo field and unique sound - a product of the weeks he spent setting up and programming the sounds on his huge Moog P3 modular synthesizer. The other side was a lengthy, stormy, drone-filled, epi of mellotrons (Polymoog), electronics, guitar, bass and drums by his Heldon colleagues. In Chronolyse, Pinhas wove his separate worlds of music, philosophy, science fiction and literature, physical reality and family life into a single sonic and philosophical universe.
Guitarist/synthesist Richard Pinhas, before his retirement from the music scene in 1982, was one of the finest innovators in electronic-oriented music. Citing King Crimson and the Fripp-Eno collaborations as his major influences, Pinhas formed the electronic band Heldon in 1974. The music of Heldon ranged from industrial drones (during pre-industrial times) to earth-shaking rock to pre- new age visions of beauty. Pinhas began recording occasional recordings under his own name in 1976...
The good news is that Pinhas is coming out of retirement. As a prelude, Cuneiform Records is reissuing all of his earlier works. ...
CHRONOLYSE shows Pinhas' affection for science fiction. The entire album is based upon Frank Herbert's Dune. The first seven tracks are variations of themes he wrote regarding the Bene Gesserit. The themes include a clicking percussive sound, one pulsing rhythm, and a swirling minimalist theme. By altering speeds or changing which theme is in the foreground/background, seven distinctly different compositions emerge. It is, however, the 30-minute ''Paul Atreides'' that defines this recording. Starting off as a series of drones, the piece slowly progresses into a Fripp and Eno guitar/synthesizer multi-tracked delight. The piece peaks with a strong fifteen-minute psychedelic freak-out, driven by twin lead guitars, ARP synthesizer, mellotron, fuzz bass, and drums. ...
Pinhas released five solo recordings...and seven with Heldon. ...their reissue…is very exciting news to anyone interested in electronic music that is as much on the cutting edge…as it was when first released... --Michael Mahan, Alternative Press
Pinhas was inspired not only by other musicians and composers, but also by various types of literature, in particular science fiction. ...Chronolyse pays homage to Herbert's famous Dune... In spite of the common literary thread, this is...almost equally divided between short solo pieces, recorded live on moog synthesizer by Pinhas, and a long, dense space jam with Pinhas on guitars, mellotron and A.R.P. synthesizer, accompanied by Didier Batard on bass and Francois Auger on drums. ...the group effort...is both forward- and backward-looking, as it makes use of new electronic resources but also hearkens back not only to prog- rockers such as King Crimson and Yes, but also to the psychedelic '60s, with a touch of Hendrix, Robin Trower and other guitar warriors. The solo pieces, on the other hand, are stark and unadorned keyboard studies for synthesizer. ...these pieces often suggest the minimalism of Glass or perhaps Terry Riley. [4/5 stars.] --Bill Tilland, All Music Guide
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