Richard Pinhas – Rhizosphere/Live, Paris 1982


It is difficult not to smile to the exploratory naiveté of a piece like Rhizosphere‘s “Claire P.” — dedicated to Philip Glass in virtue of its sequenced repetitiveness — or avoiding a couple of cynical comments when outmoded bleeps and sweeps from Moog and ARP synths establish a backward-looking kind of mood. Echoes that probably sounded projected to a potentially radiant future in 1976, now appearing instead as demonstrations of vintage instruments in an antiquity showroom.

Richard Pinhas never made a mystery of his influences — Deleuze and Fripp the most evident ones — but this music, brought back by a label who has exposed the French composer’s opus to a wider audience over the years, also rips a few pages from the book of the German fringe of electronic avant-garde, recalling milieus we were once hearing from Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. Listening to it today is, at one and the same time, a fascinating and outlandish experience — especially when the title track begins with François Auger’s drum solo punctuated by cheap sci-fi electronics, in turn introducing a monotonous vamp that goes on for almost 18 minutes, varying only in speed.

The reissue is augmented by a live recording at Paris’ Bobino in 1982. Pinhas — wielding a Roland guitar synthesizer besides handling other sources — is flanked by Clement Bailly (drums), Patrick Gauthier (Minimoog) and Bernard Paganotti (bass). The group provides the grounds for a different sort of investigation, frequently trespassing the borders of jazz-rock-tinged chaos, ultimately generating environments that range from fairly hypnotic (the initial “Livre 5: L’Ethique”) to rather perplexing (the ugly slap bass parts in “Last Coda From The Western Wail”). The use of treated voice adds a further touch of weirdness to a set whose value is that of an interesting yet not astonishing article.


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