Born in 2016, the French synth pop group Helico is a collaboration between rock band Paganella and DJ Moule (Stéphane Mourgues). Delphine Audevard is the siren voice behind this new endeavour based in Southwestern France, adding synths to the guitar and live looping of Sylvain Sentenach and more recently, bass synth and machines of Aurélien Calvo who has joined the group for live performances.
While Helico draws from influences like The Do, Christine and the Queens, and Daft Punk, rockers The Ting Tings and the Cardigans and other progressive French techno pop like Yelle or Belgium’s Alice on the Roof, Delphine’s songwriting is on the deeper side of all things pop. “I am mostly inspired by the dark side of life,” she says, “trying to get the light from it” exploring themes inspired from people and relationships, a guitar riff or a city like Manila – Manille in French, the title of Helico’s first single being released in the Philippines on December 16, 2016 by Lilystars Records. Delphine was inspired to write the song after having spent three weeks in the Philippines and falling in love with the city. Delphine and Helico dedicate this first single to the people of Manila.
Mysterious and moody, Manille is a yearning love song from the depths of a woman’s heart dedicated to the complex, turbulent beauty of the world’s most densely populated city. Helico vocalist Delphine Audevard wraps her voice around the brooding synth intro and almost Spanish rhythm like the gossamer silk of a traditional beaded shawl. Layers of rhythms and synth build to the chorus: Filipino te quiero, Filipina I love ya.
Delphine’s voice is strong, clear and flexible, recalling French-Canadian singer/cellist Jorane, known for her alternative singing style, or French singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens (Héloïse Letissier), while intense, driving beats and unusual melodic constructions reveal Helico’s influences of the likes of Daft Punk and The Dos.
As bonus tracks, two remixes bring out different moods from the same song: Tioneb’s Remix (aka. Benoît Poujade) takes it up a notch, starting with the chorus, speeding things up to a frantic, action-packed pace like the constant flow of cars along EDSA, the city’s infamous circular freeway. Tioneb indulges this mix with a host of creative noise ending in digital fireworks.
Jo’s Remix (Jonathan Lamarque) takes an manga-like approach, highlighting Delphine’s voice underlaid with a smooth chorus bed of synths, while busy little rhythms and effects run madly like Japanese cartoon characters.
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