Bureau B / Germany / 2020
Spoiler alert. A brilliant moment occurs right at the end of 1977’s Interface. The album’s final song, its side-long title track, builds up slowly into a roaring tornado of fiercely mutating drum patterns, effervescent synth work, and guitar licks that wail into the atmosphere like an abandoned astronaut. Then, after nearly nineteen minutes of highly futuristic avant-garde space rock, this ultramodern music fades out and is replaced by a concluding few seconds of traditional blues-rock guitar. “We were finishing the track, the tape was rolling, and I started to play a normal boogie or whatever,” remembers Heldon leader Richard Pinhas. “I think it was a good idea to keep it. It just came naturally, at the end.”
This event acts as a reminder of just how far rock ’n’ roll had been transformed since its earliest incarnations. This blueprint had been jolted and nudged down all kinds of unexpected avenues after players like Chuck Berry and Bill Haley first found fame. The genre had branched out into every manner of mutated form. It had given rise to misshapen clones and had shifted into unrecognisable shapes, like a beautiful alien creature from one of the science fiction tales that were fondly admired by so many experimental rock musicians, Pinhas included.
Pinhas is now approaching his 70s. His music has not aged in the same way. “It still sounds modern,” he says proudly. “It could have been recorded yesterday. Nothing gets old with this.”
That’s rock ’n’ roll for you.