Helado Negro, “Far In”
By Caitlin Donohue · October 26, 2021 Merch for this release:
2 x Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

In a 2016 Bandcamp interview, Helado Negro, aka Roberto Carlos Lange, said that his musical practice can be described as “dropping the balm.” Healing salve is hot in these trying times, and Lange, with his lilting voice, has delivered unto us another blessing with the seventh Helado Negro album, Far In. His first release with stalwart indie label 4AD and a follow-up to 2019 breakout hit This is How You Smile, Lange once again builds a safe space with fuzzy-feeling disco bops and slow-slung odes to foundational loves. But Far In demands something in return. As the album title—a reference to a comment made by virtuoso New Age multi-instrumentalist Laraaji during a chance encounter with Lange in a Berlin airport—suggests, we’re to let the songs introduce us to our discontentment so that we can dance with it.

If that sounds like a quarantine-perfect pursuit, it’s because the genre-spanning Far In was mostly penned in Marfa, Texas, where Lange and long-term partner Kristi Sword were social distancing. Accordingly, melodic funk track “Telescope,” with New York artist Benamin, is dedicated to Lange’s Florida-bound mother, amplifying the Corona-heightened sadness. Bopping lead single “Gemini and Leo” tells of a lengthy dance session with Sword, hinting at the relationship renaissance that can happen when mutual focus sharpens. (Check out Lange’s Kite Symphony, Four Variations to hear the duo’s fascinating collaboration from their time in Marfa.) Lange’s longtime associates Buscabulla, plus an electric Rhodes piano, show up on the nostalgic “Agosto.” You get the sense that creating these moments gave Helado Negro the necessary space to digest the last 19 months; listening to them gives us the same possibility.

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