'The Adventures of Prince Achmed' Soundtrack

by Flights of Helios

Lake Scene 04:26
Love Ballad 01:36
China Bells 01:22
Finale 04:16


Four pieces from our soundtrack to 'The Adventures of Prince Achmed'(1926), the oldest surviving full-length animated film. We were commissioned to compose the soundtrack by University of Oxford and performed it live alongside the film screening at the Pitt Rivers Museum in March 2014.

Read the press release for the full story:

"Oxford space-pop/shoegaze quintet Flights of Helios combine spiralling, caustic electronica with reverb-drenched post-rock guitar drones and heart-stopping vocals. In March 2014 at Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum Flights of Helios took their sound on an Eastern exploratory tangent, debuting their specially composed original live score to The Adventures of Prince Achmed by Lotte Reiniger, the oldest surviving animated feature film which premiered in Germany on 23 September 1926. Following further performances at the Ashmolean Museum and Modern Art Oxford the band are taking select bookings for future performances.

Charlotte ‘Lotte’ Reiniger was born in Berlin in 1899. Inspired by her childhood obsession with Chinese silhouette puppets and the magical trick films of George Méliès, The Adventures of Prince Achmed tells the story of a young royal who is tricked by a wicked sorcerer into flying a magical horse to far-away lands. Having taken three years to complete, London’s literati received the chance to view the film on 8 May 1927, at a London Film Society screening.

Fast-forward to 2013 and Dr Cleo Hanaway-Oakley, Knowledge Exchange Facilitator and Early Cinema scholar at the University of Oxford commissioned Flights of Helios to compose a new score for a special performance of Prince Achmed at the Pitt Rivers Museum. The event, which involved academic input from across the University and showcased the museum’s shadow puppet collection, was generously funded through an ASPIRE Arts Council Innovation Fund grant.

Taking their inspiration from the Man of Arran live soundtrack by British Sea Power as well as the psychedelic explorations of The Flaming Lips, Flights of Helios spent many hours playing along to the film, working with Arabic and Byzantine scales as well as introducing tabla, dhol and mandolin to their existing setup of warped vocals, synths, programming and live rhythm section, combining all these disparate elements to create a rich, flowing tapestry of simultaneously ancient and modern sounding musical narratives and soundscapes."


released June 5, 2017

Composed by Flights of Helios and Chris Hills

Recorded live by Jamie Morris

Flights of Helios:
Phil Hanaway-Oakley - ukulele with sitar effect
Sebastian Reynolds - synths
Chris Beard - vocals, bass guitar
James Currie - drums
James Maund - electric guitar

Chris Hills - tabla, percussion


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Flights of Helios Oxford, UK

Flights of Helios are a space-rock / drone-folk band from Oxford, UK.
“Fantastic... worth keeping your ears peeled for" (DrownedInSound)

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