Richard Pinhas has been a provocateur since the 1960s, building shifting, shivering, monuments of noise with treated guitars, synthesizers, drums and a collection of like-minded souls. First with Heldon, later as a solo artist, more recently as a collaborator with Merzbow and Pascal Comelade, Pinhas has layered guitar texture on guitar texture in vast oceanic swells of sound. Movement in his pieces seems to rise up from the depths, pulsing through iridescent sprays and squalls like some elaborately muscled, violent beast. For Desolation Row, Pinhas’ 16th solo record, the artist is flanked by noise experimenters Oren Ambarchi, Lasse Marhaug, Etienne Jaumet and Nowl Akchote, who bend guitar and pedal sounds into massive, free-form shapes. Drummer Erick Borelva keeps these extended feedback and overtone symphonies in motion, pummeling rainbow shimmering auras into kraut-y propulsion.
“Moog,” the album’s sprawling centerpiece, pulses and vibrates like an electric aura, its keyboard line ardent and full of purpose, its surrounding sounds flaring and fading like fire you breathe on. Pinhas considers cardinal compass points (“North,” “South”), geometric shapes (“Square,” “Circle”) and varieties of sonic experience (“Moog” and “Drone 1”) in this abstracted firestorm, the tracks crackling with sparks that jump from one sound to the next. I like best the tracks that have the clearest rhythmic through-line, like the rushing, roaring second half of “South”, techno-pulsing “North,” but there is something heady in the cuts that spread out in every direction, a la “Drone 1”, blanketing silence with a striated, ever-shifting mesh of loosely collated sound.
DOWNLOAD: “Moog”, “South”