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ARTIST
TITLE
Iceland
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
BB 393LP BB 393LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
2/11/2022

LP version. Richard Pinhas' album Iceland was first released in 1979 and is his third solo work, also the first after the split from Heldon. This album seems like a long, inward-looking journey and is like a kind of counter-point to the expansive sci-fi worlds and the bombastic prog of Heldon; on Iceland you will find long, sublime tracks next to short, rougher sketches. Echo guitars, rhythm machines and the washed-out warmth of analog synthesizer sounds create a very peculiar, chilling atmosphere.

"... Iceland is the perfect description of this music -- when you start to focus on the details contained within these juggernauts of atmosphere, you sense the precision involved with each element, its place in the mix meticulously chosen. Despite the nature of the sounds, there is nothing cold about Pinhas' appreciation of the record. Enthusing over aspects of how he made certain tracks -- recording with his first ARP 2600, using 'white noise as the source!... creating these very special voices', playing his original 1957 Black Beauty Les Paul, and how Fran├žois Auger's fantastic drumming enlightens 'Greenland' with his softness of touch. For a man often critical of his own work, Pinhas tells me that he 'loves' Iceland, that it ranks in the top five of his records . . . An unflinching look at the bleakness of the landscapes glimpsed. But it is through that refusal to shut off one's senses, that their true majesty is revealed. A ghostly homing sound beckons as 'Iceland 2' begins. Our guide leading us into the terrain is an uneasy rhythmic pulse, a 4/4 figure stylistically displaced to make it into a 9/8 meter. Momentary beauty at 2:23 as three fuzzy warmer chords swell up, rising away . . . By 'Iceland 3' we're somewhat used to the topography, the tones warmer, or perhaps just familiar, even as the utterances of what now sound like soul-devouring entities grow louder. And they seem to have wound their way into 'The Last Kings Of Thule''s pulse as Richard's almost jazz -- though in no way is this jazz -- guitar contorts itself all over it. Closing the record, 'Greenland' is gorgeous, lysergic dreams sweeping you off to sleep at sunrise after a 'Long Dark Night Of The Soul'. The ghastly voices subdued as they settle back underneath consciousness. Those noises - in a different form, perhaps now processed by the psyche -- resurface on the title track of Stand By, recorded at the same time as Iceland. Pinhas would work on this, his third solo record, during meal breaks at Heldon sessions in Paris' Ramses Studios. However, the bulk of the album was recorded at home and, except for the final track, 'quite alone'..." --Aug Stone