Album Review: Richard Pinhas – Reverse

Richard Pinhas is what you’d call a pioneer of both electronic music and experimental rock. His early years were spent recording with first Schizo, then space rock pioneers Heldon, as well as releasing records under his own name. He doesn’t shy away from dissonance and extended stays in musical pieces that seem to go on forever. That’s really the beauty of his work, or at least his method. He took a six year break in the 80s before returning to perfect form in the 90s. Since then he’s collaborated with luminaries in experimental music such as Merzbow, Yoshida Tatsuya, Oren Ambarchi, Barry Cleveland, and Wolf Eyes.

On Pinhas’ newest album, Reverse, he’s going full-on space rock. Buzzing synths, motorik beats, and a feeling of being set adrift into the confines of cold, dark space. It’s a heady trip, and one you won’t soon forget.

Reverse is a collection of four pieces, titled “Dronz 1 – Ketter”, “Dronz 2 – End”, “Dronz 3 – Nefesh”, and “Dronz 4 – V2”. With titles like that you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect. With the exception of “Dronz 2”, these are monolithic pieces of ethereal synths, buzzing guitars(courtesy of Oren Ambarchi), and in some cases seriously heavy drumming(courtesy of Arthur Narcy and William Winant on percussion), the tracks evolve into musical monoliths. “Dronz 3” begins buzzing and churning before opening up into an all out space rock epic. “Dronz 2” may be the shortest track coming in just over 7 minutes, but it comes together nicely and feels like it’s just the right amount of existential bliss. “Dronz 4” buzzes beautifully like a digital swarm of notes and noise. “Dronz 1” greets us at the beginning of the journey, and at nearly 16 minutes is the grand epic statement of the record. It sounds like a spatial symphony. Like a cross between Miles Davis at his headiest in the early 70s with an affinity for Hawkwind and Amon Duul instead of Jimi Hendrix and the psych scene.

At 65 years old Richard Pinhas shows no signs of burning out or losing his edge. He’s as noisy and prolific as he’s ever been, and he seems to be matched with some equally prolific musicians that help paint his grand, galactic sound oblivion.


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