8track: Flights of Helios

Picture the scene: you've just stepped out of the Hercules Moments DeLorean and you find yourself in the 90s. MC Hammer pants and Walkmen are all the rage. Deciding to ignore the fashion of the day, you pick up a Walkman and head home to 2012...

Over the past few months, we've been getting in touch with bands, celebrities and more to ask them to create eight-song-long mixtapes for YOU. So crack out your Walkman and enjoy...

Influenced by “the sound of buildings collapsing and ice caps melting”, Flights of Helios are an Oxford-based progressive drone-pop band. Whatever that means. Their music is passionate and intense, layer upon layer of sound built up to create a gloriously cacophonous noise that surrounds and engulfs the listener. Read on to find the songs they chose for you…

The Red Krayola - War Sucks
This song has quite a primal political sentiment to it. The album The Parable of Arable Land is an underground classic of the Psychedelic era, and more people need to hear it. They were playing largely improvised free-form noise rock in a 1960s Conservative Redneck Texas. These guys had balls!

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat
Quite possibly the most dramatic song ever written. The lyrics are from the point of view of a prisoner on Death Row who is resigned to his fate. The passion and conviction in their delivery kind of give you a feeling of what it would be like to be consigned to the electric chair. Backed by the peerless brooding avant-punk of the Bad Seeds - (the backing band hand picked by Mr Cave). Morose and powerful.

Fairport Convention - A Sailor's Life
It's epic, beautiful, ahead of its time and influential to the sound of electric English folk-rock.

Sheila Chandra - ABoneCroneDrone 5
Wordless spiral-staircases of song, spinning against a sky crammed with stars in motion. For me drone music  like a Rothko painting; after a time you start to notice intricacies in what at first appears static. For me the slow rush of this track is almost overwhelming, and very liberating.

Underworld - Cowgirl
The controlled groove; the mantra vocals - all very Can, but with a clear bionic eye focused on how to make the arrangement best blow the roof off. Early Underworld is also fairly sparse, which makes it seem achievable as a live act.

Conor Orbest - Moab
This track keeps ending up on my iPod playlist. Oberst has long been one of my favourite lyricists and Moab is a fantastic anthem for finishing a particularly gruelling Oxfordshire bike ride.

Bleeding Heart Narrative - Henry Box Brown
The most played track in my iTunes by one of the most underrated and overlooked British guitar bands of the last decade. They sadly played their last gig recently and I'm gutted that they never took off, as they so deserved to.

Meursault - Settling
Alongside Bleeding Heart Narrative, Meursault have been a big influence on Flights of Helios. Sky-high epic choruses, super impassioned vocals, killer lyrics and dazzling musical inventiveness. They've helped me through some long dark nights of the soul.

Find out more about Flights of Helios on Facebook and listen to their music on Soundcloud.

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