15 Oct Episode 42 – Modular Madness: In the Laboratory with Heldon’s ‘Stand By’
Emerging from a web of poststructuralist philosophy and electronic fetishism, France’s Heldon — whose name is derived from Norman Spinrad novel, The Iron Dream — functioned from 1974–1979 as a vehicle for Richard Pinhas’ wildest aural fantasies. The group’s first six albums work through an esoteric maze of analog synthesis and post-Fripp guitar histrionics, from the curiously pastoral second album, Allez Téia, to the cryptic violence of 1977’s Interface. This episode, however, trains its gaze on the last album of the band’s original run, 1979’s singular and masterful Stand By. Here, Pinhas, abetted by principal confidantes, Patrick Gauthier and Francois Auger, offers up the most confident set of arrangements of his career. Stand By harnesses the tactile synth textures of previous albums and binds them to songs that anticipate techno, home-listening electronica, doom rock, and other future sounds. Underrated at best, but mostly unheard altogether, Radical Research looks to settle the score and give these Gaulic Goliaths their proper due.
Heldon was preceded by Schizo!, who released two singles and mined a heavy psych rock sound, with flourishes of proto-metal and electronics.
Heldon employed a wider range of musicians than described above, including Jannick Top of Magma, who played on “Towards the Red Line,” the sidelong composition that concludes the band’s fifth album, Un Reve Sans Consequence Speciale.
Buy links to Discogs page for Stand By. Do it right!
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Music cited, in order of appearance:
Heldon, “Bolero” (three moments) (Stand By, 1979)
Heldon, “Une Drole De Journée” (Stand By, 1979)
Heldon, “Stand By” (two moments) (Stand By, 1979)
episode 43 preview: Mr. Bungle, “None of Them Knew They Were Robots” (California, 1999)
Radical Research is a conversation about the inner- and outer-reaches of rock and metal music. This podcast is conceived and conducted by Jeff Wagner and Hunter Ginn. Though we consume music in a variety of ways, we give particular privilege to the immersive, full-album listening experience. Likewise, we believe that tangible music formats help provide the richest, most rewarding immersions and that music, artwork, and song titles cooperate to produce a singular effect on the listener. Great music is worth more than we ever pay for it.
This is Radical Research Podcast episode 42.