August 27th, 2013 , by John Beeler
Island Universe Story Two, out now, is the second in an ongoing series of EPs from Roberto Lange, a.k.a. Helado Negro. Not designed to “tease” or “build up to” or kill time between the Helado Negro albums, these releases shadow the LPs, moving darkly alongside them—and, like a shadow, may be more easily described by what they aren’t than what they are.
They aren’t outtakes or afterthoughts or byproducts or B-sides. These are fully filtered, distilled, unified recordings, chapters in a continuous narrative. They’re less like the flipside of a record than they are like the dark side of the moon: always present but (until now) just out of sight. “It’s a parallel to the continuum of the album,” explains Lange. They’re “something next to the albums, on kind of their own timeline,” a second stream, offering an alternate glimpse into Helado Negro’s ongoing process. Says Lange, “This is more of what I do. I’m really making music every day.”
But they aren’t exactly about that process, either. Two is underpinned by collaborations—the orchestral sound on the opening “Stop Living Dead,” for instance, was created with composer Trey Pollard and a double string quartet, and “Mitad del Mundo” features the talents of Wilco’s Mikael Jorgenson—but the Helado Negro project has never operated in a vacuum. From his headquarters in Brooklyn, Lange has always quick to point out the importance of other people, sometimes in other places, who have contributed to his music, and of the collaborative dynamic itself: some aspects of his process, says Lange, “are wildly free, and some of them are very structured and have a large amount of direction. It’s widely variable in terms of what freedoms are given and what control is taken.”
Ultimately, “I like the idea of process,” says Lange, “and then what happens on the other side, too. Both are important to me”—aesthetically satisfying product, as well as experimental process—and like any Helado Negro release, this latest chapter in the Island Universe Story delivers on both counts.
Preorder the cassette, due in late September, here.
April 11th, 2013 , by John Beeler
The inaugural podcast of a Bandcamp.com revamp features our very own Helado Negro.
We are big fans of Bandcamp, an online service that lets musicians release music directly to fans and one we use prolifically. The service revamped their front page this week, with a renewed focus on artists and creative content. Andrew Jervis, formerly of Ubiquity Records, is Bandcamp’s new “Chief Curator,” and he’ll be selecting content for their weekly podcast.
Helado Negro is in some good company in this first edition joining Hairy Hands, Baxamaxam, Wild Honey, Tramp Rec., and many other fantastic acts. We’re looking forward to the next installment of the podcast.
Oliver Barret tried his hand at illustrating Roberto Lange of Helado Negro, and we think he captured the spirit – and the hair – just right.
You can hear all of Helado Negro’s catalog for free (and buy his new record, Invisible Life, for $8) on Bandcamp right here.
March 5th, 2013 , by John Beeler
Invisible Life, the third full-length from Helado Negro, is available today. Purchasing options are here.
Heather Phares at AllMusic wrote that “It’s the hypnotic pull of even [Helado Negro’s] simplest songs, like the lonely and lovely ‘Dance Ghost,’ that makes his music special. Invisible Life reaffirms that Lange can keep that quality, regardless of which direction he takes Helado Negro in next.”
You might also want to watch this video of Roberto of Helado Negro working with Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen to create a brand new song. See below or over on Shaking Through.
[vimeo width=”542″ height=”300″]https://vimeo.com/59611209[/vimeo]
January 22nd, 2013 , by John Beeler
“There’s no one home, just the ghosts who dance alone.”
The FADER just premiered a new video from Helado Negro of “Dance Ghost,” the first single from Invisible Life. Directed by David W. Merten, of GHAVA, the video follows an individual who moves throughout Miami as if in a daydream. As he progress through the surreal landscape of Miami, he is mostly in the background. [vimeo width=”542″ height=”231″]https://vimeo.com/57236809[/vimeo] Says Roberto Lange of Helado Negro: “They are ghosts to maybe most who are usually trying to create the least amount of resistance when trying to survive in the US due to the many instances of inhumane treatment of illegal immigrants in the US. The song may be saturated in ambiguous synth tones, but the reality of living somewhere or being somewhere where others want everything about you but you, is what haunts them.” Preorder the CD or LP of Invisible Life here.
November 29th, 2012 , by John Beeler
From the room he grew up in, in South Florida, to his apartment in Savannah, and now in his current home in Brooklyn, Roberto Lange of Helado Negro has never not made music. Tones whittled out of these places, memories, time and all its impressions, Invisible Life is Helado Negro’s third full-length album. Like captured light, it is a reflection of Helado Negro’s refined love affair with synthesis, sampling, and his own strengthening voice.
Singing in Spanish, as well as English, Helado Negro is a bilingual tour guide into the transcendent zone of wavelength where music is mutually transacted bouncing between artist and listener. Assisting in this transaction are contributions from collaborators including Bear in Heaven’s Jon Philpot, Mouse on Mars’ Jan St. Werner, Devendra Barnhart, Matt Crum and Eduardo Alonso. Each help multiply the whispered dream of Helado Negro into a full-spectrum technicolor existence.
In the way of artists like Caetano Veloso, The Sea and Cake, and even Sade, Helado Negro floats beyond his own identity into that democratic forest of shape and color.
Helado Negro’s Invisible Life is out March 5th, 2013. Until then, please enjoy “Dance Ghost” on Pitchfork by clicking here.
June 7th, 2012 , by John Beeler
A beautiful thing happened when Helado Negro and Julianna Barwick first met: they got to know each other. The result, a collaborative band, OMBRE, and a brand-new full-length record, Believe You Me out on August 21st.
OMBRE has released their first single, entitled “Cara Falsa,” and it brilliantly showcases the ambient and programmed electronic side of this record, with a synthy space jam of pure oscillating ascendance,
What else can we expect from Believe You Me? Its ten tracks are very much the sound of two solo artists, each bringing a distinctive style, vibe, and voice to the mix. Recorded as the newly acquainted pair were just becoming friends, OMBRE shows Barwick’s clear, high harmonies and church choir sensibilities meld well with Helado Negro’s rustic-Latin-psyche-folk meets big-city-blockparty.
We’re excited to bring it to you come August. Until then, enjoy “Cara Falsa” below.
February 28th, 2012 , by John Beeler
Photo by Angel Ceballos
Roberto Lange of Helado Negro loves to explore. And it is his intrinsic sense of discovery that transforms the traditional structures of pop music into a celestial playground. Because his energy and enthusiasm is hard to restrain within the recommended release schedule, we have decided to forgo with conventional wisdom and follow Helado Negro through the extensive galactic archipelago, losing ourselves amongst the many islands that orbit the brain of Lange and his many collaborators.
Today we are excited to be releasing Island Universe Story One, the first in what he promises as an infinite series of chapters in this musical journey. The result of experimentation with a Scully 280 ¼” tape machine and the Teenage Engineering OP-1, the first island is a collection of tape loops and edits. It is a deep breakfast buffet of star paste and quabbernautic brunchings. Listen and take part by purchasing below, or read more here.
The music is visually represented by the micro-maximalist art of Kristi Sword and succinct design of Mexico City’s NRML.
And don’t miss Helado Negro at the Bowery this Friday night, when he plays with Matthew Dear and Blondes. Buy tickets here.
December 30th, 2011 , by John Beeler
We’re going back over our releases on the cusp of 2012 and trying to clump together a whole year’s worth of happenings into one post. Here's the one on Helado Negro's Canta Lechuza. We released Helado Negro’s Canta Lechuza in May. Roberto Carlos Lange – the brain and brawn behind Helado Negro – is one […]Read the Rest...
November 22nd, 2011 , by John Beeler
Helado Negro is currently undergoing a short but sweet minitour of Mexico. Last week he played at Festival Norte Sonoro en Monterrey, alongside DJ Rupture, White Rainbow, Grupo Esencias, and many others. You can see the tour poster and more info on that here.
For those of you that are in Mexico, make sure you run by Starbucks. You might able to pick up a free track courtesy of iTunes (see here for example).