CD of the month: Helado Negro – “Far In”

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Since March 2020, we have a multitude of “interior times”. The pressure to ‘disassemble’ and isolate oneself during the height of the pandemic led not only to a lot of living inside, but also to inner thinking, as the periods of time to reflect and reflect quickly accumulated. over the weeks and months. to. Roberto Carlos Lange, otherwise known as Helado Negro, fell into this period while staying in residence with his partner in Marfa, Texas, a stay that became an extended six-month stay. Lange had plenty of time to think and look within during this time and the following months on a move from New York to North Carolina – time to look “far away,” an expression from a conversation. of Laraaji ambient music icon. Lange took this simple phrase as the philosophy and title of his latest album, and his debut for the venerable 4AD label, Far in, a warm collection of songs floating between soft grooves and enveloping synth-folk.

A radiant heat runs through the disc; I’ve seen more than a few people online compare this album to a friendly hug, and I couldn’t agree more. Soft synths and keyboards and soft strings and strings form the backdrop for the fifteen tracks, sometimes holding their own space, and other times nailed down by tight rhythmic section parts. When these two factors come together to create some of the album’s most exciting moments, to the memory meditation of being “a stranger among strangers” as Lange puts it, “Outside the Outside”, at the astrological and astronomical ode to his wife, “Gemini and Leo. Lange is the child of Ecuadorian immigrants and grew up in South Florida, and these bicultural and bilingual experiences run through his work. Two tracks from the album, “La Naranja” and “Agosto”, the latter with the Latin pop-synth duo Buscabulla, date back to his youth among orange trees, and their life cycle as an image of the passing time. . Another excellent track in Spanish is the fluid “Aguas Frías”, a song about the faded memory of a lost love, details fuzzy but present enough to be still there. For an album produced during a pandemic, Far in, features an impressive array of outside collaborators, with Lange tapping into the transgender talents of William Tyler, Kelly Moran, Jenn Wasner aka Flock of Dimes, Taja Cheek aka L’Rain, Jan St. Werner from Mouse On Mars and John Herndon from Turtle , to name a few. Lange strategically deploys the skills of his guests under the guidance of his Song Art, a collaborative effort retracing the unifying forces of memory and rumination.

The inviting feeling that this music evokes me is not lost on a population constantly torn by the state of the world. Lange brings you inside the album with a familiarity and sincerity that soothes the weary spirit of the world and provides a place of comfort, dance, contemplation, and acceptance. Sometimes turning inside is the right place to go, and on Far in, Helado Negro shows that even there it can be just as welcoming as any place outside.

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