mon 26/02/2024

Album: Helado Negro - PHASOR | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Helado Negro - PHASOR

Album: Helado Negro - PHASOR

Pastoral dreaminess from the alt-pop journeyman

Floridian-born, longtime Brooklyn resident, now Asheville, North Carolina based Roberto Carlos Lange doesn’t rush things, but he gets them done. This is his ninth album in 15 years, during which time he’s built a substantial body of audiovisual / computer art / installation work too. And as with all this creative endeavour, it’s not showy, it doesn’t demand your attention, but it spreads out its ideas and emotions very much at its own pace.

His relocation to Asheville came after the Covid lockdown experience in New York – which explicitly inspired 2021’s Far In – and it’s easy to hear a loosening, a delight in feeling fresh air the lungs and turf underfoot here. Far In was as four-square as anything, full of right angles and clean-lines, its abundant feelings constrained in urbane electropop structures. PHASOR on the other hand rolls and tumbles and bounces along, tentatively and gently admittedly, but with a real sense of freedom in the movement of the songs.

Lange has always worn his Ecuadorian heritage on his sleeve, and his records have always been bilingual, but here the Latin groove is back to the forefront. It’s not any given obvious style, but more as with his very early work as a featured musician on records by Savath Y Savalas aka Catalan-Irish-Cuban-American Guillermo Scott Herren there’s a sense of modernist, syncretic sophsistication drawing from right across diasporic creativity.

So you might hear wisps of tropicália among the Beatles-y psychedelia of opener “LFO (Lupe Finds Oliveiros)” or the slow funk roller “Colores Del Mar”, or tiny flickers of Dizzy Gillespie’s Cuban influences in the counterintuitive piano licks of “Echo Tricks Me”. Though just as much there are echoes from elsewhere: certainly you might find musical cousins on the more electronic side in Four Tet and Caribou, or on the organic side in Gruff Rhys or Beck.

But nothing is obvious, everything is incorporated into the gentle, domestic meander of the album. Some might find this drifts past without grabbing them, but that’s to miss the point spectacularly. Sit down with it for a while, and let it work at its own pace – and note that the more delicate it gets the better it is – and the rewards are immense. Just a very lovely record.

@joemuggs

Listen to “LFO (Lupe Finds Oliveiros)”: 

Nothing is obvious, everything is incorporated into the gentle, domestic meander

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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