Thursday, 9 June 2011
Rétro: THX - Telstar (Richard Pinhas)
A track today by THX, a pseudonym used by Richard Pinhas for this single, a cover of 60s instrumental Telstar.
It sounds to me like what the Joe Meek instrumental - performed originally by the Tornados - from 1962 would sound like if it was beamed into space on the communication satellite of the same name, and a group of aliens heard it and sent their own version back to earth.
It's a more commercial proposition than much of Pinhas's other work, and could easily be enjoyed by those with no knowledge of his more progressive and experimental work.
It was released in 1978, a fertile time for Pinhas, the same year as his Chronolyse solo album and betweeh Heldon's interface (1977) and Stand By (1979)
Telstar was a space rock tune well before the term had any currency in the hands of bands like Hawkwind, Meek - an early pioneer of the possibilities of the recording studio - consciously attempting to make a record incorporating sound effects to evoke a space-like sound. It was the first single by a British act to get to number one in the USA.
Meek was subject to a plagiarism claim from French composer Jean Ledrut who claimed that the tune had been copied from a piece from the 1960 film Austerlitz. The claim was resolved in Meek's favour, although the judgement came after his death.
Of course, the French connection with Telstar runs deeper, with the actual Telstar satellite, which was launched in 1962, carrying TV pictures across the Atlantic from the USA to Pleumeur-Bodou in Brittany.
The THX track is available on the Japanese CD Richard Pinhas: Single Collection 1972-1980 on the Captain Trips label.
I'll have on Richard Pinhas on the website very soon.