Yes, Helado Negro is one of the kids on the cover of his new album, Double Youth. But he won’t say which one. A long-forgotten photo dug out of a childhood closet, this mysterious image encapsulates the themes of his latest record, released today: the duality and ambiguity of memory, identity, and self.
He communicates them with language, through the ambiguity of his lyrical content, the duality of his bilingualism, and even through a gentle warping of grammar itself: what Helado Negro, a.k.a. Roberto Lange, calls the “confused consciousness” of the opening track—”Are I Here”—is right there in the title, as the words’ refusal to agree with each other manages to be at once technically incorrect and oddly appropriate.
And perhaps more importantly, he communicates it in the rich dualities and ambiguities of the music itself. His arrangements are replete with fuzzy basslines, blurry beats, and a haze of dreamy vocals, but organized with tautly syncopated grooves and focused songcraft. Through the nuanced layering of spare, but discreetly nuanced elements, he creates something vastly more textured and complex than the sum of its parts.
Sasha Geffen at Pitchfork reviewed the album: “Fittingly, Double Youth, the boldest and most intricate Helado Negro work to date, grapples with memory and its uncanny tendency to wear away despite our best intentions to preserve it.”
Catch Roberto of Helado Negro on CNN yesterday here.
Double Youth arrives in a plethora of formats: CD, digital download, black LP, limited edition translucent blue LP, and an even more limited VIP edition of 100 translucent blue LPs sleeves decorated by hand—complete with those two enigmatic youths, printed on photo paper, plus more hand-made surprises inside.
Buy it here.