Helios - Ayres
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With each release (even under different names), Keith Kenniff has shown off small steps of development within his music that make him someone that definitely bears keeping an ear out for. Under the name Goldmund, he put out a lovely piano-based release, and his second album (Eingya) as Helios was even better than his first (Unomia).

Ayres is no exception, with small stylistic changes that mark it as different from his last release, with the most notable being that this the first release that he has ever featured vocals on. With a few more twists and turns than usual, it sometimes takes songs on this six song, thirty-minute mini-album to get going. "A Rising Wind" opens things up, and along with the closer of "In Heaven" (a cover of a song off the Eraserhead) is probably the weakest part of the release.

The middle-section is where he seems on truly solid footing, though. "Woods And Gives Away" starts out with a murky two minutes of forest ambient folk before blooming into a gorgeous middle with found-sound percussion, filtered guitars, and soft vocals. It again dissolves towards the end, and "Signed I Wish You Well" follows with loping beats, soft pads, and another weaving structure that develops into another subtle but lovely second half. With a bit of growl in the bass and a bit more crunch on the beat programming, "The Obeisant Vine" raises the tension level just a bit, and it's a welcome edge, no matter how slight.

In fact, it's that slight quickening of the pulse that really helps keep the release skirting just to the side of being too overly melodramatic and weepy indie electronic. It's a trap that the release would most likely fall into if it were a full-length (and didn't have any other tracks where the pace picked up), but as it stands Ayres is another engaging and well-constructed release by Kenniff.

rating: 6.7510
Aaron Coleman 2007-09-06 21:02:20