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Richard Pinhas (1951 - )

Related: experimental music - electronic art music - French music - Gilles Deleuze

Le Voyageur (1972) - Schizo
cover of the 7" vinyl


Richard Pinhas was born in 1951 and soon becomes one of the most active musicians in France in the early 70s. After may 68, he studies philosophy at la Sorbonne and obtains in PhD and attends courses by Gilles Deleuze, who soon becomes a friend and an inspirator. He forms Schizo which releases two Eps in 1970 and soon becomes founding member and leader of Heldon (all Heldon and RPinhas solo albums are released by Cuneiform records). Very much influenced by Soft Machine, Hendrix or Magma (with whom he has a lot of musicians in common), he releases "Le Voyageur" (sortit en 500 exemplaires et fut distribué gratuitement, produit par l'acteur Matthieu Carrière) featuring Gilles Deleuze, the famous philosopher on voices, around the text of Nietzsche, in 1972. This is a major event in French musical landscape. Heldon will soon involvethe best of the French musicians, such as Patrick Gauthier, Janick Top, Bernard Paganotti, Alain Renaud, Klaus Blasquiz, Benoît Widemann and the list goes on. Named as "first electronic industrial band" by some american magazines, Heldon is now a cult-band which has always evolved before any avant-garde. Richard did many solo album from 79 to 96 under his name and reformed Heldon after more than 17 albums. His new project, Schizotrope, is now well renowned and has two albums out. --unidentified source


Heldon is a French electronic rock band created in 1974. The name of the band was taken from the 1972 novel The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad.

Like its predecessor Schizo, it is above all the group of guitarist Richard Pinhas who released a large number of albums under his own name.

He has worked with numerous collaborators among which musicians of the band Magma as well as philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze (of whome he was a student) and writers such as Norman Spinrad and Maurice Dantec (the Schizotrope project).

Influenced by the work of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno, the music of Richard Pinhas and Heldon is sui generis and innovative and has in its turn greatly influenced the field of electronic rock.

The first releases under the moniker Schizo and later Heldon were entirely self produced and self distributed. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heldon [Jun 2006]

Le Voyageur (1972) - Schizo

Le Voyageur (1972) - Schizo
cover of the 7" vinyl

Nietzsche lyrics recited by Deleuze:

« Qui est advenu, ne serait ce quand dans une certaine mesure, à la liberté de la raison, ne peut rien se sentir d’autre sur terre que voyageur.

Pour un voyage toute fois qu’il tentera vers un but dernier car il n’y en a pas. Mais enfin, il regardera les yeux ouverts à tout ce qui se passe en vérité dans le monde. Aussi ne doit il pas attacher trop fortement son cœur a rien de particulier.

Il faut qu’il ait en lui une part vagabonde dans le plaisir soit dans le changement et le passage.

Sans doute cet homme connaîtra les nuits mauvaises où pris de lassitude il trouvera fermée la porte de la vie qui devait lui offrir le repos

Peut-être qu'en outre, comme en Orient, le désert s'étendra jusqu’à cette porte, que les bêtes de proie y feront entendre leur hurlement tantôt lointain, tantôt rapproché, qu'un vent violent se lèvera, que des brigands lui déroberont ses bêtes de somme.

Alors sans doute la nuit terrifiante sera pour lui un autre désert tombant sur le désert,et il se sentira le cœur las de tous les voyages. » --from The Wanderer, in the first volume of Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human

English version: "He who has attained the freedom of reason to any extent cannot, for a long time, regard himself otherwise than as a wanderer on the face of the earth - and not even as a traveller towards a final goal, for there is no such thing. But he certainly wants to observe and keep his eyes open to whatever actually happens in the world; therefore he cannot attach his heart too firmly to anything individual; he must have in himself something wandering that takes pleasure in change and transitoriness." --from The Wanderer, in the first volume of Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human

The band Schizo autoproduces the 7" Le Voyageur / Torcol with their last kopecks and distributes the record for free. On Le Voyageur (Eng: the traveller), the philosopher Gilles Deleuze delights by reciting with his piercing voice from Human, All Too Human by Nietzsche. Le Voyageur remains an emblematic recording in the discography of Schizo / Heldon / Pinhas and is featured on several compilations, most notably on Nova's Underground Moderne (2001).

See also: 1972 - Richard Pinhas - French music - Gilles Deleuze - Underground Moderne (2001) - Various artists - Nietzsche

Electronique Guerilla/It's Always Rock and Roll (1974/1975) - Heldon

Electronique Guerilla/It's Always Rock and Roll (1974/1975) - Heldon [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Like a lot of music that has been made in France over the last forty years, Heldon have either been dismissed out-of-hand or cautiously acknowledged. I suppose Tangerine Dream are their closest counterparts, and yet Froese and the Tangs are heaped with accolades.

Richard Pinhas is an incredibly interesting character. At the barricades in 1968 as a fervent Trotskyite, possessing a PhD in philosophy from the Sorbonne, a close friend of Gilles Deleuze (who appears on the Electronic Guerilla LP), Pinhas (a white man..) used to sport an amazing gravity defying Afro, one wonders why his back catalogue doesn't inspire more interest. I mean, he even ropes Phillip K. Dick in to contribute to his 1977 Tranzition LP! --http://www.woebot.com/2006/02/heldon.html [Mar 2006]

Norman Spinrad

The Iron Dream (1972) - Norman Spinrad [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Iron Dream is an alternate history/science fiction novel written in 1972 by Norman Spinrad. In it, Spinrad tells a fairly standard sf action story as a way of showing just how close Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" - and much science fiction and fantasy literature - can be to the racist fantasies of Nazi Germany. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Dream [Mar 2006]

Norman Richard Spinrad (born September 15, 1940) is an American science fiction author.

Norman Spinrad was born in New York City, on September 15, 1940. In 1957, he entered City College of New York and graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree as a pre-law major. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco, then to Los Angeles, and now lives in Paris. He married fellow novelist N. Lee Wood in 1990, although they divorced in 2005. They had no children. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Spinrad [Mar 2006]

On cd

  • Heldon - Only Chaos Is Real [Amazon.com] Think French electronic music from the 1970s was nothing but sweet, bouncy doodles (as in J.M. Jarre or Tim Blake) or goofy tripped-out New Age utopian fairytales (as in David Allen's Gong)? Think again.
    This 1976 release by Heldon represents French electronic music at its frantic, industrial, aggressive height. No other recording--by Heldon or anyone else I am aware of--contains the power, creativity or experimental prowess of this one. At once challenging and compelling, Un Reve Sans Consequence Speciale is the most outrageous, unusual and impressively original of their entire discography. Dense with snarling guitar solos--distorted, drifting and haunting, as if you're hearing them from afar, moving frantically through a deserted cityscape--intense percussion rhythms, manic, bubbling synthesizer sequences; this is an assault upon all comfortable conventions, an assault which demands attention and deserves to be paid attention to. In parts it reminds me of the compelling chaos created in the best of Morton Subtonick's late 1960s academic electronic recordings ("Silver Apples of the Moon" or "The Wild Bull") but of course this one's phrased in the vernacular of progressive rock and the rock-born electronic music of 1970s Europe. [...] -- Micah R. Sisk for amazon.com

  • Underground - La Compile By Actuel [Amazon FR] | Underground Moderne [Amazon US] In fact, Deleuze himself participated in such an act of musical philosophy when he joined Pinhas and his fellow musicians in a Schizo recording session in 1972. At a studio sixty kilometers from Paris, the musicians laid down a bolero-like backing track over which Deleuze recited a passage from the final aphorism, "638: The Wanderer," in the first volume of Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human (Nietzsche 203-04).11 This track, "Le voyageur," [Requires Real Player] was one of the two Schizo singles released in 1973, and was shortly thereafter incorporated into Heldon's first full-length album, Electronique Guerrilla (Heldon 1973). This album, which was re-released on compact disc by Cuneiform Records (U.S.) in 1993, sold quite well upon its initial release in France and allowed Pinhas and Heldon to commit themselves to music full-time.

    this compilation, by Radio, set me on to Heldon, the track "Le Voyageur" has Deleuze reciting Nietzsche over guitar music.

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