Boomkat Product Review:
Roberto Carlos Lange steps back out on 4AD with more than your RDA of lilting psych, indie-pop and tropicália grooves, puckered with signature vox and a coy vulnerability that makes all his work feel so personal and timeless - RIYL Panda Bear, Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Mabe Fratti, Tom Zé
A regular presence on these pages over the last two decades now, since he first seduced with his downbeats as Epstein and Boom & Birds as part of the nascent Miami electronica nexus, Roberto Carlos Lange has really come into his own over the past decade as Helado Negro. Ever finer knitting his Ecuadorian heritage to increasing confidence as a singer-songwriter, ‘Phasor’ now follows from his Laraaji-inspired homage and lockdown album ‘Far In’ with a new suite that metaphorically finds him emerging, bleary-eyed and tenderly nervous, back into the post-quarantine world. In tone and feel it’s best aligned with his 2019 album ‘This is How You Smile’, with nine tracks that find him re-learning how to connect with the world, accentuating the fundamentals of focussed rhythm and memory-foamed melodies that land with the softest touch of warm air on skin.
A buoyant, motorik indie-pop pearl ‘LFO (Lupe Finds Oliveros)’ coyly switches between propulsion and stumble, setting up one of his most succinct long players that winds from shuffling downstroke ‘I Just Want to Wake up With You’, thru the effervescent tropicália of ‘Colores Del Mar’, and a gorgeous centrepiece ‘Echo Tricks Me’ that finds him increasingly comfortable in his own skin. Likewise we’re quietly smitten with the ‘60s-into-‘20s shuffle of ‘Out There’, and the woozy synth wow ’n flutter of ‘Flores’ hail his roots in ‘00s ambient-pop-electronica, while ‘Wish You Could Be Here’ betrays a crafty urge to the edge of the dance, and the silky closing strokes of ‘Es Una Fantasia’ leaves us with the tongue tip frisson of Mabe Fratti’s recent gems.