|Metro Spirit 09.30.06
Sextet in Flux
the "band" label from now on; Hellblinki Sextet is something vastly
different. Andrew Benjamin's brainchild still plays music, sure, but
the demented, gothic collective has a lot more in common with a
travelling stage play at this point: a revolving cast (Benjamin is the
only origional member that still plays every show), a penchant for the
dramatic (see a Hellblinki show for details) and thick shadowy elements
adhering to a theme that seems to stretch directly from Benjamin's own
At this point, it's like he's the
script - the constant - and whatever assortment of musicians that are
joining him are the actors, sticking loosely to that script while
adding their own unique performances.
"It's not so much sharing the
vision that's important," says Benjamin, "It's finding people that are
capable of sitting down and doing it fairly easily. At this point
point people have to be of a certain level and capability to just jump
in and play. And of course, they have to have at least some affinity
for the music."
Benjamin says that he's still
rotating members in Hellblinki Sextet, even more so in fact, since
moving from Augusta to Asheville, NC. But that's not a result of the
move, which left his old bandmates here in Augusta, nor is it an effect
of of a more fertile pool of musicians in Asheville. It's just in
the Hellblinki creedo: musicians will revolve in and out. It's
just the way it's always been and it's starting to have an effect on
In just what ways Hellblinki
Sextet is changing, and to what degree, however, will be revealed when
Benjamin and Co. make what will probably be it's final Augusta
appearance of '06 this Saturday, Sept. 30, at The Soul Bar. It's
not so much that Benjamin is being coy and witholding what his show
will be like; full disclosure of what will be seen at the show might
imply that he knows everything that's going to happen.
At this point plans for the new
album are similarly up in the air. So far, all Benjamin knows is
that it will probably be out by Spring '07 at the latest and that will
be on par with the conceptual nature of his previous two records, 200's
Self-Titled Debut and 2004's "A Pirate Broadcast."
"I like the idea of a record being
a singular piece, made up of these little vignettes that are the
songs," says Benjamin. as for what listeners can expect the record to
actually sound like, Benjamin adds, "Right now, it's kind of a
skeleton, the songs being the bones. Things are continually
getting hung on that framework and it's continually changing."
By all rights, Hellblinki Sextet
could've dissolved by now. Between the move three hours north,
the start of a new family and a general shift in lifestyle, Benjamin
has certainly been through enough to break up a lesser group.
It's at this moment, however, that the utility of the revolving cast
comes into view.
"it's what I do," says Benjamin. "I'm a lifer. Hellblinki's my job, and I'm not gonna fire me and I'm not gonna quit on me."