richard pinhas / tatsuya yoshida / masami akita Process and Reality (CD, £13.50)label: Cuneiform
RICHARD PINHAS, the founder of 70s legends HELDON, is one of France's best known experimental musicians. He is a key figure in the development of rock music fusing with electronic music. Three founding fathers of experimental music join forces to conjure an unholy serenade for a society on the verge of collapse on Process and Reality, an hourlong whirlwind of pessimistic prophecy transformed into a heady monolith of sound. Boundary-stretching guitarist Richard Pinhas, founder of the influential French electronic-rock band Heldon, teams with two icons of the Japanese avant-garde - drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, mastermind of warped-prog legends Ruins, Korekyojinn, Koenjihyakkei and other groupings and Masami Akita, a.k.a. noise guru Merzbow - to summon a brutally honest, politically potent, sonically tumultuous reflection of the last gasps of the industrial age. Process and Reality marks the first recorded convergence of these three avant-rock giants, though Pinhas has recorded with both Yoshida and Merzbow in the past and all three have toured extensively together in Japan . The album, recorded in Tokyo during a recent high-profile tour, captures the fevered intensity and violently textured depth of the trio's collaborative improvisations. The music made by Pinhas, Yoshida and Akita seethes and roils in a constant state of both turbulent flux and visceral realisation. The guitarist says of his collaborators, "They explore 100% of their possibility. We have the same kind of spirit." That spirit seems to blanch in the face of the modern age. Though he doesn't regard Process and Reality as the still-to-come third part of his "Devolution Trilogy," the album arrives in the midst of an unprecedentedly ugly American presidential election and in the shadow of a series of tragic terrorist attacks in the guitarist's native France. If that's all too downbeat for an evening's listening, Pinhas also sees the album as a celebration of his cherished friendship with these Japanese artists. "Japan is the best scene in the world," he asserts, and while he foresees a radical change in his sound approaching in 2017, he continues that, "Always I will work with my forever friends."
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