Always seemingly at the forefront of electronic & ambient rock music, veteran guitarist/composer Richard Pinhas once again delivers a chaotic, spacey, but ultimately intriguing collection of sounds on his latest Cuneiform Records release, Desolation Row. This time around he's surrounded himself with a host of European musicians, namely Oren Ambarchi, Lasse Marhaug, Etienne Jaumet, Noel Akchote, Eric Borelva, and his son, Duncan Nilsson, all of who have taken part in the progressive rock, noise, jazz, and free improv genres. If you've followed Pinhas in his career, you probably have gotten used to expecting the unexpected, and Desolation Row falls right in with that line of thinking.
Whether it's with blasts of sonic noise delivered by guitar, keyboards, and percussion as on the raucous opener "North", the lovely jazz guitar strums of "Square", or the menacing, claustrophobic space rock that is "South", Pinhas and his mates mix things up on each track and always keep you guessing. The near 19-minute monster "Moog" is a space rock lovers delight, as proggy synths bubble and boil over atmospheric washes, techno/industrial beats, and soaring sax, while "Circle" is pure electronic noise & drone, certain to evoke a 'love it' or 'hate it' relationship with the listener. The same can be said for the lengthy closer "Drone 1", another noisy and chaotic number that is devoid of any real melodies, but features some truly ominous & harsh guitar tones and feedback. A must for fans of Robert Fripp's solo work if nothing else.
Desolation Row is certainly not going to be for everyone, but I'm sure most who are familiar with the work of Richard Pinhas already know that going in. If you like free-form music that knows no boundaries, this guy rarely disappoints and he's on point here yet again.
Drone 1 16:27