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Friday, June 30, 2006
LISTENING POST: CD REVIEWS
Sometimes the only thing that gets you through when plans don't work out is an album with a particular understanding of melancholy. Just look at the cover of the new album by Helios, a manga-esque drawing of two-lovers' hands entwined as they stand before a cloud-covered sea, and you'll be certain, yes, this guy knows melancholy.
The music won't disappoint: composer and multi-instrumentalist Keith Kenniff has dreamed up some concise pop-song length instrumentals drenched in dreamy atmospherics. Imagine "Music For Films"-era Brian Eno with Nick Drake sitting in on guitar, and you'll be getting close. Helios' music comes off as electronica, but a closer listen reveals it's all played. Perfectly plucked guitars and simple keyboard phrases form the moody melodies, smeared with occasional washes of synth -- and all in enough reverb to make a shoegazer happy. The drums, meanwhile, have their live origin masked by a heavily filtered, processed sound that adds miles of atmosphere. By muting the beats, Helios' guitars chime clearly in the front of the mix, the phrases falling right and left like rainfall on hot summer asphalt -- it's that kind of vibe.
Helios writes with a cinematic sensibility, and this music cries out for scenes that it can be a soundtrack to. Let your memories do the rest.