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English electronic group Hælos emerged in the early 2010s with a trip-hop revival style that incorporated hypnotic atmospherics, pulsing beats, and haunting vocals. Echoing the sounds of predecessors such as Moby, Massive Attack, and the xx, they issued debut Full Circle in 2016. Expanding their sonic vision, they released sophomore LP Any Random Kindness in 2019.
Hælos got their start shrouded in mystery, but it wasn't intentional, they just didn't have a press photo. The U.K. trio -- Arthur Delaney, Lotti Benardout, and Dom Goldsmith -- had just released their first video for "Dust" in late 2014 without fanfare or background information, catching the attention of curious listeners. The angelic combination of male-female vocal interplay and atmospheric soundscapes created an expansive and cinematic feel, at once hypnotizing and seductive, which the band dubbed "dark euphoria." They followed "Dust" with "Pray" (channeling some of Moby's most uplifting tunes) and "Earth Not Above" in 2015, updating the coolness of '90s trip-hop with a modern pulse, as if the xx had a little more fire in their blood, Portishead lightened up a bit, or Massive Attack were a little friendlier. They signed with Matador Records in March 2015 and played a number of high-profile industry shows throughout the year before releasing their debut EP, Earth Not Above, which included the previously released title track and three new songs. A year later, they released their first LP Full Circle. The set peaked in the Top 5 of the Billboard electronic chart.
The group returned in early 2019 with a new member, Daniel Vildosola, and a new single, "Kyoto." The expansive club track was featured on their sophomore full-length, Any Random Kindness, which arrived that May. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
- London, England
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