Heldon IV: Agneta Nilsson

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The 1976 LP Heldon IV: Agneta Nilsson, as interesting as it is, remains one notch below the other albums from that decade by Richard Pinhas' project Heldon. Recorded at home for the most part, it does not sound as good as the others. Musically, the ideas are thinner and less developed. This is a transitional album: Pinhas was slowly leaving the electronics-only motto of early Heldon to incorporate rock elements, but he still had to find a clear direction. This LP does not have the force of impact of its follow-up Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale, on which most of the ideas introduced here will crystallize. The album contains four songs penned by Pinhas and titled "Perspective"; three of them are between ten and 22 minutes. "Perspective I (Où Comment Procède le Nihilisme Actif)" (Perspective I [Or How Active Nihilism Works]) and "Perspective III (Baader-Meinhof Blues)" are all-electronics affairs, with some nice electric guitar buried in the mix of the latter. "Perspective II" introduces drummer Coco Roussel (who was about to join the American progressive rock group Happy the Man) on very limited percussion work. "Bassong" is a short interlude written by guitarist Michel Ettori and played as a duet with bassist Gérard Prévost. Pinhas does not even play on this one -- a very different touch on the album. The whole thing starts to soar with the 22-minute "Perspective IV," an extended jam beginning with the usual cycling synthesizers. Seven minutes into the piece Roussel joins in, showing the full extent of his talent, along with bassist Alain Bellaïche and Patrick Gauthier on mini-Moog, while Pinhas picks up his guitar and starts one of his flaming five-minute solos. The piece changes gears again with Pinhas going back to synths. A frenetic buildup ensues, abruptly and unexpectedly cut short by the end of the track, leaving the listener with the impression that seconds are missing on his copy. "Perspective IV" is an early example of the goods to come on Stand By, but overall Heldon IV: Agneta Nilsson lacks substance. Not the best place to start on Heldon/Pinhas.

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