In his native country, guitarist/composer Richard Pinhas is often seen as the French equivalent of Edgar Froese, a pioneer of electronic avant rock who came of age during the 1970s. Since winding up Heldon at the end of that decade, he’s been a prolific solo artist and willing collaborator.
This latest release finds him joining forces with two icons of the Japanese underground: drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, guiding light of jazz proggers Ruins, and Masami Akita, aka noise rock pathfinder, Merzbow. Process And Reality is an uncompromising experience, a carefully-sustained barrage of sound that attempts to capture the dissolution of a post-industrial world. Akita lays down droney electronica and Yoshida offers relentlessly percussive jazz beats, as Pinhas creates convulsive rhythms on guitar that take the whole thing into the realm of experimental space rock. The centrepiece is TVJ 33 (Core Track), a punishing improv jam that never lets up over 36 minutes. All of this might seem overly challenging were it not for the trio’s artful command of tempo and texture, each member imbuing things with their own distinct personalities without ever threatening to take over completely. Punishing, yes, but also highly engaging.