From the Chicago Reader
Neil Young may have named his latest album Le Noise, but it's neither as French nor as noisy as Richard Pinhas's recent work. The Paris-born guitarist has been merging rock and electronics since the early 70s, when he founded the group Heldon, and he's run the gamut from bone-crunching, mathy prog to sublimely drifting pieces for looped guitar and sampled speech from philosopher Gilles Deleuze or sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. He's spent much of his career playing with family (his son Duncan, who will play electronics tonight) and old buddies from Heldon and Magma, but since 2007 he's also recorded with Michigan freak-scuzz combo Wolf Eyes and the dean of Japanese noise, Merzbow. On the new Rhizome (Cuneiform), a live Pinhas-Merzbow duo album, the guitarist's swooping phrases and snaky leads take on a gritty bite that helps them cut through the squelchy gargles and implacable beats emanating from his partner's laptop. But on "Hysteria," the half-hour centerpiece of last year's double CD Metal/Crystal (Cuneiform), Pinhas melts down his instrumental voice till it's inseparable from the roiling maelstrom of blasts and blips from Merzbow and Wolf Eyes—the intimacy of their violent dance is all the more impressive given that the component tracks were recorded independently on three different continents. Though Pinhas just turned 60, an age by which a musician has usually let you know what to expect from him, his field of play has never been more wide open. Opening are Magas, who's debuting new material for analog synth and Roland TR-808 drum machine; Scum Ra, aka Plastic Crimewave of the Reader's Secret History of Chicago Music with Kathleen Baird of Spires That in the Sunset Rise; and Mark Solotroff of Bloodyminded and Anatomy of Habit. —Bill Meyer 8:30 PM, Abbey Pub, $12, $10 in advance.