Helado Negro




Any press release which lists Silver Apples, Ornette Coleman and Scott Walker as influences has my ear immediately. On Helado Negro’s latest album, we are thrust into an altogether unique narrative which doubtlessly leaves behind any other album of today – according to the artist himself, “PHASOR is magic. It’s music about seeing your aura and living inside of it. It’s music as landscaping.”

PHASOR is highly impressionistic, expressing both the nostalgia found within Helado Negro’s early childhood in South Florida and his current day-to-day life in Asheville, North Carolina. In fact, Helado Negro – aka Roberto Carlos Lange – never stayed in one place for very long, which might explain why the album can’t be pinned to a specific time or place. Its impressive sonic range is the product of this feeling of dislocation. The language on the record embodies the dichotomy between Lange’s Ecuadorian heritage on the one hand and his American citizenship on the other as he switches between singing in Spanish and English seamlessly, almost without notice. Speaking about the album, Lange has said that “all we do is oscillate. Partners, friends, people, music, movies and animals. We all oscillate at different frequencies all the time, sometimes in or out phase with the world.”

PHASOR epitomises the ephemerality of being without conceding to nihilism. It is bright, utopian, and positively cybernetic. Indeed, Helado Negro is not moving against the current of contemporary pop culture, like so many artists often do, but instead uses it as a vehicle to explore his position in the world, without putting any pressure on finding somewhere to settle down. Quite simply, this is one of the richest listening experiences I’ve had for years; Helado Negro’s PHASOR is a triumph.