Helios - Eingya
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Keith Kenniff must be a very busy fellow. In addition to finishing a degree at the Berklee College of Music in Boston last year, he released his first album under the name Helios, as well as another nice disc of warm piano-driven tracks under the name Goldmund. Eingya is the second release under his Helios name and it’s a dramatic step up from both of his previous albums, mixing little flourishes of each style as well as a great sense for composition and subtle arrangements that pushes the entire release into a gloriously dreamy realm that hovers somewhere between Boards Of Canada and the quieter moments of Sigur Ros.

After a hushed opening track that mixes some soft ambience and piano tinklings (ala Goldmund) with a couple layers of intertwining guitar, the release drops the absolutely gorgeous “Halving The Compass,” which is one of the more affecting songs I’ve heard lately. Again mingling some delicate piano chords with soft layers of drone and field recording, the track slowly builds with subtle, shifting layers of pretty guitar melodies and a watery rhythm. “Dragonfly Across An Ancient Sky” is just as solid, opening with a repeated plucked bass phrase before again pushing forward quietly and confidently with a loping beat and sly instrumentation.

Other than a small lull about halfway into the disc, where the album stumbles a smidge on two shorter tracks (the ambient yawn of “Vargtimme” and the meandering “For Years And Years”) Kenniff keeps the album moving along nicely with song after song of engaging music. “Paper Tiger” starts out with panning electronic tones, but soon shifts into a quiet little post rock track that mixes some nice guitar work with thick analogue bass and a mixture of live and programmed beats. Meanwhile, “The Toy Garden” sounds like it was pulled directly from an older Boards Of Canada album during the first half as heavily reverbed drum sounds drift through a cloud bank of swirling synths, while the second half shifts into a brighter, acoustic guitar driven piece that clears the air a bit.

With eleven tracks running just over fifty minutes, Eingya doesn’t have the problem of getting stuck in one place for too long, and despite never being too loud, it’s a release that keeps your interest with lots of small changes throughout. I’m not sure what Kenniff’s instrument of choice is, but the album is so fluid that you’d be hard-pressed to pin him to anything. This is yet another excellent release on the great Type Records, who seem to have built themselves into a very respectable and consistent label in only a short time.

rating: 7.7510
Aaron Coleman 2006-07-13 19:48:48