The Helio Sequence Negotiations on 2LP + MP3 Coupon
Negotiations, the fifth full-length album written, recorded, and produced by The Helio Sequence, would sound different had it not been for a flood. In 2009, while touring in support of Keep Your Eyes Ahead, the Portland-based band’s studio/practice space was flooded by nearly a foot of water. Luckily, their best equipment survived, and their subsequent move to an expansive new space gave singer-guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer-keyboardist Benjamin Weikel the opportunity to try something different.
Summers and Weikel, who started playing together in 1996 and self-produced their first EP in 1999, have always been gearheads. But it wasn’t until the success of Keep Your Eyes Ahead that they could afford to step things up. They left behind much of their digital gear and built a vast collection of vintage, analog gear that would yield a warmer, deeper sound. As the new studio came together, so did their new album, and the band found themselves in the most spontaneous, open, and varied writing process they had ever experienced.
Negotiations grew out of improvisations and abstract sketches, synth loops and jams influenced by the minimalist ambience of Roedelius and Manuel Göttsching. Tempering the free-form approach was Summers and Weikel's meticulous attention to production and arrangement, which took cues from the subtlety and detail of Brian Eno and late-era Talk Talk. Lyrically, Summers affirmed the improvised ethos, working deep into the night ad-libbing alone in front of the mic, drawing on the starkness and understated romanticism of Sinatra's Capitol era "Suicide Albums." “I used to view a lyric as a statement,” he says. “Now, I see it more as a letter you're writing to yourself or a conversation with your subconscious."
This collection of shimmering, reverb-heavy songs is a meditation on those inner dialogues (hence, Negotiations) with solitude, memory, misgivings, loss, atonement, acceptance and hope. Most of all, it’s a record that serves as a testament to the beauty, blessing, and excitement of a fresh start. Gatefold LP with MP3 coupon.
The Helio Sequence Negotiations Track Listing:
1. One More Time
3. Downward Spiral
4. The Measure
5. Hall of Mirrors
6. Harvester of Souls
7. Open Letter
8. When the Shadow Falls
9. Silence on Silence