Acheiving that fleeting balance between prettiness and interest, Helios delivers a lush instrumental that actually engages the heart.
...And now for some easy-listening ambience. Helios (born Keith Kenniff) revels in his slow beats, his extended strings, and his peaceful plucks of the guitar, but the catch is that he actually manages to employ these elements in a way that invites a little bit of emotion. Where most artists fall into a sterile slump when they try to record something peaceful, wordless, and beautiful, the music of Helios's latest release, Eingya, is effortless and natural, evoking the visual equivalent of that Corona commercial where the cell phone gets tossed into the ocean. The songs get shorter as the album progresses, perfect for the typical gradual shrink of a listener's attention span, but that's not to say they are any less beautiful in their ephemerality -- closer "Emancipation" is itself a perfect combination of organ and guitar sounds that blend together far better than anyone really has a right to expect. Other highlights include "Paper Tiger", which actually uses some live-sounding drums to set itself apart from everything else on the disc, and "Dragonfly Across an Ancient Sky", which uses some lo-fi instrument sounds to create melodies that would have sounded just as good with an Aphex Twin drill 'n bass beat behind them as they do with this pleasant little easy shuffle. Comparisons with outfits like Boards of Canada and Plaid are easy to find, but it's the utter warmth of Helios that sets it apart. Eingya is absolutely worth your time, preferably on a hot, quiet summer night.