Middle-school friends Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel started playing out as Helio Sequence in 1999. Layering synthesizers to hover around the latter's expressive percussion and the former's minimalist yet huge guitar sound, early records sounded as though Helio Sequence was an all-electronic band. The outfit's effusive psychedelia was reminiscent of a space-rock Cornelius in a heady mode. In 2004, Summers damaged his vocal cords on tour; as anyone who saw the band during that period can attest, he didn't exactly hold back. And while he learned to channel his force as a performer more productively, he and Weikel, who had recently drummed for Modest Mouse, refined their sound even further. The result has been greater clarity in their songwriting, especially on their latest album, Negotiations. Despite these changes, Helio's electrifying live show remains the same.
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