Richard Pinhas – Attrition – Popcorn Double Feature – Coventry Live Review

Sink or Swim Promotions presents Richard Pinhas – Attrition – Popcorn Double Feature

Just Dropped In Records – Coventry – 19th November 2022

Richard Pinhas is internationally recognized as one of France’s major experimental musicians: the “father” of French electronic music. Attrition are an English electronic music band, formed in Coventry in 1980 by Martin Bowes and Julia Niblock. Popcorn Double Feature are an experimental noise creation from Coventry. Fighting Boredom are at Just Dropped In records for what promises to be a memorable evening.

We get to the venue early, say hello to Martin from Attrition who, as ever, is in good spirits. The promoter Joe tells us everything has been pushed back a quarter of an hour, presumably to set up the huge synthesizer Richard has brought with him. So we retire to the nearby Brewery to relax for half an hour or so. 

The first act, Popcorn Double Feature, although I am assured that the name is fluid to say the least, is Coventry’s Rich Flint standing in the skateboard shop opposite the record shop, it’s a metal container repurposed and with the projected art work and walls full of boards it looks impressive. Rich has a variety of electronica and wires spread out in front of him and clad in black he makes the first noise of the evening. It’s a low drone which throbs and moves forwards into the people standing just outside the container, it rises up and flows down. The feeling is of an artist at work. The sound grows increasingly more menacing as it gets harsher and stronger, it still flows up and down. It sounds like farming equipment or a distant factory as it carries on, not too loud, just relentless. The machines speed up and dark helicopter blades thrash around us, circling and dipping. 

The note stutters, as if it’s going to blow itself out and then slows to a low grinding and throbbing. Rattling techno beats spew out over the drone, off centre and lost under the grinding static. A synth wind blows in from the edge, over and over getting louder and louder, and the noise drops away. I liked it a lot, Rich kept me listening and the performance was impressive.

Attrition are playing in the record shop, which is far warmer than standing outside a container watching. I have seen Attrition three times now this year and to my mind they just keep getting better, this evening it’s the original members and one new boy as Martin has described him, and they pull it off tonight. Whether it’s because Richard Pinhas is watching or just that they just like playing to an audience tonight they shine. They begin with a weird electronic sound which is clear, bass driven and whole. A sampled voice brings Blakes 7 to mind, to be honest I don’t know if I’m right but I’m sure Martin will comment and let me know, this leads into Martin turning, with a bundle of joss sticks between his fingers, to take the mike. He leans forward on the stand as the sound whirls around him and beats ricochet across the room. The two vocals start and the contrast between Martin’s deep low growl and the Julia’s operatic stylings are what gives this band the edge they have. 

A sensual throbbing beat darkens the air around the two vocalists as they bounce their voices off each other. They switch to a stuttered beat and the music gets fuller and more danceable. Martin plays his odd recorder like electronic instrument as the sound carries on around us all. The sound turns to marching feet and industrial vibrations, it’s hard and angular. Dark and enveloping. A caterwauling synth turns the sound dirty and grimy. They switch to a horror film suspenseful sound with a tiny xylophone echoing over a drone. It’s nightmarish and to counter. the synths rise over and above it. The beats merge into the industrial murk and the vocals blend in brilliantly.

The drums are now relentless, no stopping at all, running off into the distance. It’s eminently danceable as shown by the people moving next to me, sexier, slinkier and just a massive groove. The vocals come together and the synths just enhance the drum and bass breaking out all around. It’s harsh, sensual and biting, it’s ace. Then it slows into a subtler, alien sounding last song. Before skittering into more drum and bass to finish. Another great set.

Richard Pinhas sits with his guitar on his knee and opposite him sits his companion with an accordion. Between them is a table full of synthesizers and electronic equipment and a myriad of cables. The sound that they create however is a million miles away from what you might expect from a guitar and accordion. There’s shifting static that obliterates everything else, beats, then fades like mist to hover over the sounds, it mires the electronics and the guitar that Richard plays. Below this the vibe turns loud and harsh as chords rip through the fabric of the noise. It’s a huge sound, layered and hard. Discordant and all enveloping. There’s little cohesion in the sound, the accordion is being played but it’s on a par with free jazz, deconstructed and anarchic. The vibe is cold. There’s no warmth here, just the manipulation of sound by a master of that art. The soundscapes bring to mind landscapes of ash and charcoal as forests lay burnt to the ground and flames consume cities. It’s harsh, the feeling is still cold and aloof, it leaves me cold. But I think that maybe that is the point. 

There are sheets of feedback like cold steel rain. Metal tearing and crumbling as beats focus in and the sound of a hellish infernal machine takes over. It’s icy, messy and all encompassing. The volume is huge but the sound would be massive even if it were quiet. It shifts between moments of cohesive guitars and drone electronics and chaotic noisy ruin, It’s a free, hard, cold set from a master at this.

Richard Pinhas


Popcorn Double Feature

Richard Pinhas’ website is He is on Facebook.

Attrition’s website is, they are on Facebook, have a Bandcamp page and Tweet as @attritionuk

Popcorn Double Feature are quite possibly not called that anymore and only announce events days before so I have no more information than that.

All words by Adrian Bloxham.

All photos by Martin Ward.

Adrian Bloxham

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