Not So Invisible
Helado Negro, translated from Spanish as Black Ice, is more than just electronic music sung in another language; it’s culture, history and passion all rolled into one sonic package. Roberto Lange, the man behind Helado Negro, infuses his Ecuadorian heritage into chilled out, vibe-y synths and beats. Invisible Life is his latest effort in the world of endless artists vying for attention in the electronic world, albeit sounding effortless and as easy as possible.
“Illumina Vos” is has a quiet but thick bassline, just pumping away as Lange croons like an apparition haunting a Latin American ghost town. If the Pirates of the Carribbean films were somehow directed by Wes Anderson, this would make top billing on promotonal cards.
“Dance Ghost,” well, is literally what Lange is. Rather than using glo-fi style reverb and heady synths as a crutch, he becomes these sounds and shapes. Sung in English, “Dance Ghost” presents Lange’s skill for creating soundscapes without pushing flashy laptop software to its limits. His lyrics live comfortably in his excellent sound design.
“Catastrophe” is a cute, quirky track with an 8-bit sound, or at least something like a fat Commodore 64 bassline. This track sports more of a “pop” structure with interesting changes in melody and tone.
“Junes” is the definite dance track on the album, having the hardest kick and snare. This is pure fun song, having a somewhat glitch-hop/chillwave vibe. It wouldn’t seem out of place on a Toro y Moi album.
Invisible Life ends with “Catch That Pain,” where Lange shines as a producer. With bright, Brian Wilson-esque vocals and a knockin’ beat pattern, it only shows Lange can throw down ten slightly minimalist electronic tracks, with each one being just as interesting and inspiring as the last. Helado Negro doesn’t get caught up in what may or may not sound good remixed and Tumblr’d next week. He just has a story to tell, whether or not he knows people will listen. Luckily, they will.