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New Releases by Richard Pinhas

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European electronics wizard Richard Pinhas returns with a batch of releases that only serve to reaffirm his mastery of intensity.

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RICHARD PINHAS Desolation Row (CD on Cuneiform Records)

This CD from 2013 features 78 minutes of growling electronic music.

Pinhas plays guitar and electronics. Joining him are: Etienne Jaumet (on analog synthesizer and saxophone), Noel Akchote (on guitar), Oren Ambarchi (on drums, guitar, and electronics), Duncan Pinhas and Lasse Marhaug (on electronics and noises), and Eric Boreluva (on drums).

A plethora of growling guitars and snarling electronics create moody electronic rock tunes propelled by stalwart percussion.

The first track launches into action with a guttural electronic cycle and sturdy drums and is swiftly joined by some awesome hoarsely squealing guitarwork. Soon additional electronics and more guitar pyrotechnics slide into play, establishing a dose of steadily mounting tension. The guitar notes almost seem to stumble over themselves in their efforts to achieve intensity. And even more guitar riffs emerge from the roiling morass, slick, molten and teeth-grinding. The melody is gritty and forceful, and the instruments continue to exhibit an edgy determination. Amazingly, the music's puissance continues to increase as the instruments all strive for maximum eruption...until it suddenly fades away.

Drums and bass tones usher in the next piece. Looping guitar effects create a grinding backdrop while a startlingly conventional guitar plucks away at a quasi-blues melody.

Track three features a host of looping guitars crunching in tandem to achieve a blazing furnace of sound whose power is given quirky locomotion by the introduction of drums buried in the seething mix. A screeching guitar surfaces to indulge in a spiraling riff. Some hostile electronics contribute to the song's density.

Followed by a song that initially employs a crisper guitar squeal, but eventually the instrument reverts to a coarser pitch. Meanwhile, the electronics adopt a cleaner resonance in their cyclic patterns, striving to goad the guitar back to its crisp demeanor, but these efforts fail and the harsh guitar emerges triumphant to wail with bestial fervor amid a churning pool of gurgling electronics. A saxophone appears, slicing into the flow with a mournful call. A new guitar appears with chittery notes, and the music enters a passage in which an ominous grumble seasons everything, but then fluid electronics influence a change of temperament and an element of auspicious promise overwhelms the tune for its dramatic conclusion.

The fifth piece pits rock'n'roll ensemble percussion with a twangy guitar. Fierce electronics rise into play, but the tune is swiftly swamped by harshly surging guitar loops of a ruthless nature.

Piercing guitar squeals mark the last track while whirling guitar buzz saws churn in the background. Things mount in intensity as the guitars grow more vehement, a dark shudder affecting the looping sustains as urgent electronics add their bluster to the flow.

While you cannot hum along with these compositions, the instruments generate compelling melodies with their persistent savagery. With durations averaging 16 and 9 minutes, these tunes achieve a vivid state of enduring severity that will delight longtime fans of Pinhas' music.

music displays a high degree of melody generated by a host of savage sounds.

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RICHARD PINHAS & OREN AMBARCHI: Tikkun (CD on Cuneiform Records)

This CD from 2014 features 69 minutes of grinding music.

Pinhas plays guitar, analog synth guitar, and effects. Ambarchi plays guitar, spirit and loops. Joining them are: Joe Talia (on drums and effects), Masami Akita (aka Merzbow) (on loop, noise and effects), Duncan Pinhas (on sequences, effects and noise) and Eric Borelva (on additional drums).

There are three tracks...

Track one launches right into things, with a burring whirl of looped guitar effects and pulsating rhythms, soon embellished by crunching electronics. This persists, getting denser, more intense, until actual drums bully their way into the glutinous mix, punctuated the morass with tight little beats. Gradually, a series of additional guitar loops enter the mix, creating a monstrously extraordinary din that begins to adopt the properties of a dreamy siren lure, sucking you in, deeper and deeper into its luscious pitches and impressive sustains. Somewhere along the way, some peripheral electronics have appeared to augment things, but their approach was so sneaky you don't notice them until they're wailing away with the rest of the instruments. Sounds exhausting; luckily the throb reaches a stage where the intensity fades and the aggressive nuclear core grows tepid. A delicate tonality smolders amid a rise tide of surging pulsations, gradually achieving its own brand of low-key intensity for a slowburn long fade edged along by a chorus of shrill guitar outcries.

That track was 30 minutes long; the next piece is only 12 minutes long. So here, the collapse of sonic particles occurs at a more accelerated rate. The guitar loops immediately go to war, a combat goaded on by the steadfast drumming. Electronic beasties try to disturb the battle, but the guitars continue with their fierce distortions and looped echoes. A mesmerizing grind is created, and it lasts a long the duelists try riff after riff, distortion after distortion, eruption after explosion - throwing it all into the whirling cluster. In the end, the combatants back off, exhausted from their conflict.

The last song is 26 minutes, so get ready for another epic... It begins with a thumping rotary that wanders about, finally awakening a seemingly erratic crackling diode, which in turn rouses a shrill vibration that twitches (like an accelerated violin frenzy) and throws off sparks. This in turn rouses a pair of combatant guitar loops that collide with fierce intent. A grinding fusion ball results as the loops whirl and scrape against and gnaw at each other. Drums step in to try to placate the dueling guitars, but the urgent rhythms only serve to enflame the seething sonic tempest. Soon the combat consumes everything, giving birth to a melodic thread that becomes swept away by the overwhelming pulsations. Eventually, the elements call a truce and recede in an orderly fashion.

An exhausting listen and worthy of many entertaining replays.

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RICHARD PINHAS &YOSHIDA TATSUYA: Welcome in the Void (CD & DVD on Cuneiform Records)

This CD from 2014 features 68 minutes of noisy electronic music.

Pinhas plays stereo loop guitar. Tatsuya (from Acid Mothers Temple and Painkiller) plays drums and percussion.

Here, there are two tracks...

A short four minute intro, a taste of what's to come.

Then the 64 minutes bulk (and be forewarned, this is gonna be a bulky ride).

This music has mass, right from the onset it blusters and looms and seethes. Savage electronics crash together to create a background rumble that becomes punctuated by twangy guitar ricochets. A crisp guitar loop emerges and unfurls its cyclic pulsation. Soon to be overtaken by a more forceful guitar chord. And drums rise from a pit to dominate things with their crazed-but-enthralling rhythms. The tune is already pretty intense, but wait - the introduction of gurgling electronics is going to simmer things a bit - no, they only encouraged the guitar to change its riff and get louder. Meanwhile, those drums are killing with their emphatic cadence. At times, the raging inferno almost borders on noise, but melodic hints persist in surfacing, dragging you into the vortex of teeth-grinding music. The guitar starts jangling, banishing the tempos and opening the floodgates for additional fiercely looping guitar. The drums quickly reassert themselves. Everything batters against each other, but the result is a gestalt, not a cacophony. A complex tapestry swims out of the hyperactive void, relegating the flow to a more slushy manner. But again, another guitar riff bullies its way into the mix, followed by another and yet another. Soon, the music is flustered by a chorus of guitar cycles which mesh to form a gigantic entity of throbbing sonic mass. This rise and fall of fresh riffs continues, each time offering a mesmerizing diversion that swiftly becomes eaten by the following tiger riff. This succession is a progression, guiding the listener through a variety of zones of furious puissance pulsating with barely-restrained explosive vitality. There are even passages that could be considered as gentle (comparatively speaking) and more akin to Pinhas' past trancey outings. But even these soft stretches are ultimately consumed by a newly dominant beast of pyrotechnic loops and crashing electronics and mechanical crunches. It shouldn't come as any surprise that this intensity persists right up to almost the end, whereat a screeching loop winds things down.

All things considered, it's a rather crowded and frenzied void.

The DVD features a live performance of one of the album tracks, recorded in concert at Les Instants Chavires, in Paris, on October 29, 2013.

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