FRACTURED AIR

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Posts Tagged ‘Helado Negro

Chosen One: Helado Negro

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“I think those moments when you’re finishing something and you’re sharing it with someone, I think that was my realization of something that I understood as what I wanted to do.”

 Roberto Carlos Lange

Words: Mark Carry

Helado Negro - Private Energy (Expanded) - Pic 001 - Credit -Anna Grothe Shive

Roberto Carlos Lange’s awe-inspiring musical project of Helado Negro reached (yet) another summit with his latest full-length ‘Private Energy’. A divine collection of deeply affecting avant pop music. Last month saw the eagerly awaited reissue of the Brooklyn-based artist’s seminal album – in an ‘expanded’ edition – via  the peerless New York imprint RVNG Intl (whom Lange previously collaborated with on the FRKWY series).

Lovingly assembled and packaged by the record label, the captivating pop spheres are similarly crafted and sculpted together with masterful detail and precision. The deeply heartfelt lyrics resonate powerfully at every turn amidst gorgeous synth layers and spectral production. The expanded version contains three sublime reworks of some of the record’s defining moments: ‘Young, Latin and Proud’(December Mix) is sumptuously de-constructed with echoes of reverb and an intoxicating slowed-down dubstep beat. Wah-wah effect pedals and hypnotic interstellar beats form the ideal foundations to the songwriter’s empowering message.

The achingly beautiful lament ‘Transmission Listen’ is a tear-stained love letter from the heart’s core: delicate woodwind and piano notes evokes the timeless sound of 60’s Brazilian tropicalia and Memphis soul. The immediacy and clarity of Lange’s voice is immediately striking akin to crystalline summer seas. The innate ability to merge electronic music and contemporary pop music is epitomised on ‘Runaround’; a deep soul groove and intricate string arrangement swims a majestic dance beneath an ocean bed of Lange’s meticulous songcraft: “No love can cut our knife in two”. Kindred spirits like LA-based songwriter Julia Holter, Panda Bear, Grizzly Bear and Julianna Barwick drift in the ether of the Florida-born musician’s enchanting song-cycles: at the intersection of latin, electronic and avant pop spheres and forever shining radiant light of prayer and hope.

‘Private Energy’ (Expanded) is available now on RVNG Intl.

https://www.facebook.com/rvngintl

https://www.facebook.com/HeladoNegro/

Helado Negro - Private Energy (Expanded) - Pic 002 - Credit -Anna Grothe Shive

Interview with Roberto Carlos Lange (Helado Negro).

 

It’s such a wonderful partnership between yourself and the RVNG label in repressing your very special Helado Negro album ‘Private Energy’. I wonder how was this experience for you when revisiting this record and looking it in a new way?

Roberto Carlos Lange: I had worked with RVNG in 2010/2011 on a project as part of the FRKWY series, so it was me and a bunch of people did it with David Van Tieghem. So, that was my introduction to working with them – I had been a big fan of RVNG before that – and seven years later now there’s this whole new in-depth knowledge of how thoughtful and careful and so much quality control. It was nice how just everything was taken care of – the remastering of it and the artwork – and just everything about the whole process was really special and a compliment to the music (or vice versa).

I love how there’s a few new remixes and reworks included in the expanded version of ‘Private Energy’. I’d love for you to talk me through these new versions?

 RCL: Yeah, that was super unique. The way some of this record was put together, there were so many different live shows prior to finishing the record so I would grab chunks from the live show and edit them and manipulate them to work within the studio versions. So some of that shines a little bit more and peaks out in those three alternate versions that are on the expanded edition.

I’d love to know more about how you craft these songs because you’re developing and evolving all the time with all these releases, there’s just so much intricacies and detail involved musically and lyrically.

RCL: It’s definitely stacked vertically and I think about music and sound a lot like that; like how many layers can I go down or go up, in the vertical sense as opposed to like when is the end of the song coming. That’s part of the process I think where all the layers are intertwined. I keep stealing things that are improvisations with my sampler or my synthesizers or things that are on my computer and also people playing in real-time and also recordings that I do at a residency or a performance or at a rehearsal and just taking all of these snippets and being able to assemble them as moments of times of process and progress like finishing the record or finishing a song or finishing an idea.

An important part of the album is the incredible ‘Young, Latin and Proud’ – it’s almost an anthem really – so many of these songs are like these perfect pop songs with real depth and emotion inside.

RCL: I appreciate music that is committed to these realms whether it’s pop music or something that is committed to extended technique with an instrument and somebody commits their life to that and I appreciate all that kind of music on both ends of the spectrum. So, for me it’s what makes me up when I try to portray with my own version of me, which I think shines through with ‘Young, Latin and Proud’ where I’m talking a lot about myself mostly and how much I want to reflect that outwards or have people reflect that with me through them.

The album was initially made to accompany a dance performance, which I didn’t realize at the time?

RCL: It was parallel for sure, there were so many different things happening to be honest with you. One of the things that was a big aspect of what informed the record were these costumes that were made to accompany me onstage and after working with them for about a year, they obviously liked the visual aspect that informed a lot of what I did musically and what I wanted to do onstage with them. So there was a series of shows that I was commissioned to do in a few different museums and it was specifically ‘Private Energy’ with choreography with the costumes.

The way you’re involved with so many different mediums and the different contexts your music is created for like performances, installations and so on, when you release a new selection of songs it must all feed into one another?

RCL: It’s funny it’s like everything ends up evolving or like I work on a piece of  music and I end up making so many iterations of the same thing, I think it’s exciting and fun to do that. Everything is like an extension of each other; I look at it more as that than it being like the music is over once the record is out. There’s always a chance for it to evolve into something else with other things.

Collaboration is of course something you’re continually involved in. One of my favourites was the wonderful Ombre project with Julianna Barwick, which was such a beautiful release.

RCL: That was one of my favourites as well. I think we started that in 2010 and it came out in 2012. That was such a special project; she’s a super close friend of mine. I toured once in the UK and at the time I was selling some of those LPs on the road and people in the UK specifically were like ‘Oh wow, you work on this; that’s you… that’s awesome man’ [laughs]. It was cool because a lot of different people know about it and a lot of people don’t know about it, it’s interesting when people discover it as well.

Since you moved to New York several years ago, I wonder just how much of an inspiration is the city on you?

RCL: Being here for about eleven years now. I moved actually from Florida to Savannah Georgia to Atalanta and then back to Florida and then back. So prior to New York I was in Atalanta. It’s a special place and every day there’s not a moment where you’re not feeling stimulated somehow; there’s so much going on whether you’re just going to the corner to get milk or you’re out running errands trying to meet people or trying to do something. There’s definitely like this hyper extreme like sensory push and pull, you’re seeing all types of things. And especially right now where it’s transitioning from spring to summer – or whatever is happening right now with the weather – you see just like the trees are stretching out and the sidewalks are getting super crowded and everything is getting louder and more bustling you know.

I wonder what ideas may you have right now for your next release or projects? I can imagine you must have several different things coming together at the same time?

RCL: It’s interesting because right now it feels like there’s a rebirth for this record and to continue sharing it with people, so that’s really nice to have that for something to occupy your time as I’m still exploring what I want to do. I’m recording a bunch of ideas right now and I’m feeling everything out but I’m not in a rush to finish anything at this moment, I feel really inspired but I don’t feel pressure in any way. I think that’s also a result of working with RVNG and seeing and feeling what they’re doing; the way they’ve been able to work with me on this project. It’s nice to feel there is a little bit of air to just move around.

For your musical project of Helado Negro, were there certain albums or defining moments – perhaps when growing up –that happened for you to lead you on your particular music path?

RCL: I think the moment where I started to take it really seriously was in college and I was really alone, experimenting on my own and figuring out how to manipulate sound and realize that I was making songs. And in a non-traditional sense where I wasn’t really learning music, I was messing around with the computer and that sampler that I have. I think those moments when you’re finishing something and you’re sharing it with someone, I think that was my realization of something that I understood as what I wanted to do. I think it’s like both those processes, creating and sharing of being like the feeling of this is what I want to do. I do think there are a lot of people who do create and I do think a lot of people don’t want to share and I think there is that level of commitment of being able to participate and have people participate in what you’re doing as well.

You’ve been touring extensively around the world as well, you must learn so much about your songs and your music by going to all these venues and playing shows where you gather all these different versions and variations of your songs. It must be a great source of learning in one way?

RCL: Yeah it’s frightening for sure because there’s so many times where it goes really well and there’s so many times where you’re like this is awkward or uncomfortable in the past. I definitely think it’s morphed and changed enough where I don’t feel out of control; I feel like I have opened up enough to know that the things that happen that aren’t exactly how I planned are the things that I appreciate the most, taking those moments and building on that. A friend of mine who plays a lot of improvisational music told me like one of the rules they had was you mess up, you do it three times after that. So, it sounds intentional regardless of what it is and there’s something I appreciate about that, like owning the mistake until it turns into something that you want, it’s pretty exciting.

‘Mi Mano’ is probably one of my favourite tracks from ‘Private Energy’ at the moment. It really shows the interwoven layers and masterful production that’s on display across the album, I don’t know how you do it.

RCL: Awesome, well neither do I [laughs]. I’m glad you dig it, yeah it’s one of my favourite jams too. That song is actually a really good example of the idea of error. That song was originally a much faster tempo and I accidentally slowed it down significantly because I was doing something else for a second but I ended up changing the BPM. When I played it back, I was like what is going on and I couldn’t figure out what had happened for a good couple of minutes and I just loved it that way and it stuck like that.

Have you been listening to any albums lately, Roberto?

RCL: I just made a playlist of stuff that I’ve been listening to, I realized that’s my best solution around this question because throughout the years it’s been the question that haunts me [laughs]. I made a playlist of a bunch of ambient jams that I really dig and something that I’ve been listening to a lot was this Gigi Masin record with George Hayward. There’s this band that I heard on the road, they’re called Sneaks and it’s a duo (a bass player and a drummer) and the woman who plays bass is pretty awesome actually, I dig their tunes. What else has been in my ears? There’s also this Ecuadorian cumbia organ synthesizer player from the 50’s and 60’s that I’ve been listening to a lot and his name is really hard to spell [laughs].

‘Private Energy’ (Expanded) is available now on RVNG Intl.

https://www.facebook.com/rvngintl

https://www.facebook.com/HeladoNegro/

 

 

 

Written by admin

May 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E04 | April mix

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fracturedair_april17April’s mixtape opens with “I Can’t Find Water”, album opener for Hauschka’s latest full-length “What If”, yet another monumental and sprawling opus courtesy of the Dusseldorf-based artist Volker Bertelmann. Recorded mainly in Berlin with Francesco Donadello, “What If” gloriously mirrors Hauschka’s own transcendental live performances, where worlds of both analogue and digital (a mixture of various synthesisers, grand pianos, player pianos and percussive instruments) effortlessly interweave in scintillating long-form compositions. “What If” is the sound of a producer as much as a pianist, confirming Hauschka as one of brightest burning jewels in independent music today.

Berlin-based and Stockholm-born songwriter Molly Nilsson releases her much-anticipated new full-length “Imaginations” this May, the follow-up to 2015’s stunning “Zenith” LP. Night School Records have also been busy re-issuing Nilsson’s back catalogue in recent times, most recently with the re-issue of her breakthrough second LP “Follow The Light”.

One of the year’s most staggering releases comes (once again) courtesy of James Leyland Kirkby’s The Caretaker project. “Everywhere at the end of time” is the epic six-album odyssey (April saw the release of “stage two”) which will take three years to conclude. The series draws upon the conceptual framework of dementia, and how the disease impacts the mind and memory. In the words of Kirkby: “The second stage is the self realisation and awareness that something is wrong with a refusal to accept that. More effort is made to remember so memories can be more long form with a little more deterioration in quality. The overall personal mood is generally lower than the first stage and at a point before confusion starts setting in.”
April’s mixtape also features a selection of new releases from: Clark’s “Death Peak” (Warp); Forest Swords’ “Compassion” (Ninja Tune); Nan Kolè’s “Malumz” EP (Black Acre); Mary Lattimore’s “Collected Pieces” (Ghostly International); Homeboy Sandman’s “Veins” (Stones Throw) and Mount Eerie’s “A Crow Looked At Me” (P.W. Elverum & Sun).

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E04 | April mix

 

To listen on La Blogothèque:

http://www.blogotheque.net/2017/04/27/fractured-air-x-blogotheque-s02e04-april-mix/

 

01. Hauschka“I Can’t Find Water” (City Slang / Temporary Residence)
02. Forest Swords“Arms Out” (Ninja Tune)
03. John Hassell“Miracle Steps” (Optimo Music)
04. Clark“Catastrophe Anthem” (Warp)
05. The xx“A Violent Noise” (Four Tet Remix) (Young Turks)
06. Talaboman“Samsa” (R&S)
07. Nan Kolè“Bayefal” (Black Acre)
08. Vex Ruffin“Front” (Stones Throw)
09. Homeboy Sandman“Bamboo” (Stones Throw)
10. Chromatics“Circled Sun” (Italians Do It Better)
11. Bibio“Feeling” (Knx Remix) (Warp)
12. Dunkelziffer“Colours and Soul” (Emotional Rescue)
13. Lewis Furey“Lewis is Crazy” (Aquarius)
14. Scott Walker“Montague Terrace (In Blue)” (Philips)
15. Angelo Badalamenti“Love Theme” (Mulholland Drive OST, Milan)
16. Mount Eerie“Toothbrush / Trash” (P.W. Elverum & Sun)
17. Dinah Washington & Max Richter“This Bitter Earth / On the Nature of Daylight” (La French OST, Gaumont, Légende Films)
18. Vashti Bunyan“If I Were” (FatCat)
19. Mary Lattimore“We Just Found Out She Died” (Ghostly International)
20. Leandro Fresco and Rafael Anton Irisarri“Cuando El Misterio Es Demasiado Impresionante, Es Imposible Desobedecer” (A Strangely Isolated Place)
21. Orcas (with Martyn Heyne)“Into the Night” (Soundcloud)
22. Molly Nilsson“A Song They Won’t Be Playing On the Radio” (Dark Skies Association / Night School)
23. Helado Negro“Runaround” (Alternate Mix) (RVNG Intl)
24. Julia Holter“Lucette Stranded On the Island” (Live at RAK) (Domino)
25. The Caretaker“The way ahead feels lonely” (History Always Favours The Winners)

Compiled by Fractured Air, April 2017. The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

http://www.blogotheque.net/
https://fracturedair.com/

Step Right Up: Ombre

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OMBRE is a new musical collaboration between Julianna Barwick and Helado Negro. Their album ‘Believe You Me’ was released on the wonderful Asthmatic Kitty label earlier this year.

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

A friend of mine recommended OMBRE to me, and once I heard Julianna Barwick’s name mentioned, its significance became immediately apparent. Rewind to 2011. Julianna Barwick’s gorgeous album, ‘The Magic Place’ flooded the airwaves with its healing tones and blissed out ambient soundscapes. Barwick’s looped vocal harmonies evoked a church choir with wordless harmonies, where fragments of sound combine to form the loveliest of intricate patterns. As the title suggests, Julianna Barwick’s music is indeed magic. Furthermore, the cinematic journey of Barwick’s unique sound is full of hope, joy and solace. ‘The Magic Place’ has been one of my most cherished albums from last year, together with Julia Holter’s ‘Ekstasis’, who like Barwick, conjures up an otherworldly dreamscape of wonder and beauty.

Forward to 2012. The collaborative journey of OMBRE sees the light of day. Two very talented artists are on display here. Barwick’s clean, soaring harmonies and church choir sensibilities merge effortlessly with Negro’s rustic-Latin-psyche-folk. Helado Negro likens ‘Believe You Me’ to “something where we find common ground and build bridges, buildings, and skyscrapers…sometimes even parks and waterslides.” OMBRE’s sound is very organic. It’s the sound of two close friends (the two only got to know each other in 2010), sharing ideas and feelings, resulting in ‘Believe You Me’. It’s an album full of hazy sunshine pop fused with drone-ambient wrapped in warmth and beauty.

Album opener ‘Noche Brilla’ starts off with an arpeggiated nylon guitar and soft trumpet. The fragile, plucked strings meanders slowly beneath the Miles Davis-esque trumpet. The track reminds me of a 60s jazz soundtrack. Chill-out comes to mind! Next up is ‘Weight Those Words’, which changes the dynamic. Latin-tinged folk-pop sums up the gorgeous sound. The song’s rhythm has a bossa nova feel. Majestic electric piano swirls in around the vocals of Barwick and Negro. The groove of the acoustic guitar reminds me of Morr Music’s trademark sunshine indie-pop sound. The song paints an image of a lovely summer’s evening, with the sun shining brightly over the horizon. Synths and electronic loops creates the sonic backdrop for ‘Vistate’, before Barwick’s layered harmonies and Negro’s vocals come to the fore. Listening to Negro’s voice and synthesizer recalls the sound of David Sylvian.

‘Dawning’ is a fortress of solitude. Barwick’s refrain is like a mantra, amidst hypnotic drone. The song builds and builds. Barwick’s voice melds so gorgeously with the playful notes of the vibraphone. The closing part of ‘Dawning’ is embedded in dreamlike electric piano and guitar sounds. The fifth track, ‘Sense’ is my current favourite. ‘Sense’ captures the magic created by the two artists in deep communication with one another. Julianna Barwick’s harmonies float in a sea of ambient brilliance. It’s the interface between the voice and technology. The drone and ambient worlds combine, creating a cinematic haven of sound, similar to that of Grouper. ‘Tormentas’ returns to a more familiar folk pop feel. It could be the soundtrack to a Jean Luc Godard film from the 60s. Drums, percussion, trumpets and acoustic guitar creates a European sound. A synthy space jam is heard next with ‘Cara Falsa’, full of ethereal noise. ‘Pausa Primera’ contains samples of children playing and talking in Spanish, over Barwick’s heavenly harmonies. Childhood is distilled in the song’s short duration. ‘Noche Brilla Pt 2’ brings the listener back to the journey’s beginning. Lovely sunshine and clear blue skies are above us.

‘Believe You Me’ is out now on Asthmatic Kitty.

http://juliannabarwick.com/albums/ombre.html

http://asthmatickitty.com/merch/believe-you-me/

 

Written by admin

November 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm