Richard Pinhas


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Even though Pinhas was largely inactive musically after 1982 and up until the release of Cyborg Sally in 1994, he continued to experiment sporadically in the studio, and the ten pieces collected on this CD were recorded between 1983 and 1991. They are the usual mixed bag typical of a Pinhas solo release, with various musicians assisting on individual tracks. However, Pinhas himself plays synthesizers primarily, so this CD contains less of the guitar dynamics which were featured on most of his releases, and especially those which he recorded as a member of the rock fusion group Heldon. One piece, "The Joe Chip Song," is even scored for an accompanying classical string quintet, and Pinhas must have been pleased with the result (or short of material), because he includes four very similar versions of it on the CD. Pinhas also recycles the title piece from his 1979 solo release Iceland, opening this program with "1992: Iceland: Intro," continuing with "1992: Iceland: The Fall," and closing with "Iceland: The Fall: Coda." The "Joe Chip" pieces are charming but lightweight waltzes, very much in the new age vein. They represent a promising direction, but additional pieces would have been preferable to the four subtly different variations which are presented here. The "Iceland" pieces have a certain static grandeur, as they did the first time around, although this musical territory is by now well traveled. "Ubik" and "A Piece Called Lulu" are both good, up-tempo synthesizer pieces, new age-ish but with an edge. "Ubik," especially, sounds like good, latter-day Tangerine Dream. The real surprise on the CD for anyone who is listening closely is "Ballade Pour Fredric Magnus," which utilizes electric bass, two guitars, synth and piano, and has a satisfying complexity and range of moods not found elsewhere on the CD. Since this piece was written by Patrick Gauthier, Pinhas' longtime Heldon associate, it provides further evidence that Pinhas is a musician who does his most exciting work when he shares composition duties and collaborates with other strong creative spirits.

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