Indie Music

Helado Negro: Phasor review – undimmable warmth

American sound artist Helado Negro (born Roberto Carlos Lange) is a songwriter, beatmaker and producer whose work quivers with the giddy joy of invention. His best work is 2019’s This Is How You Smile, an astonishing, inimitable collection of indie folk, horizontal dance and chillwave with a Latinx edge, wandering free of structure and genre. Endlessly slippery but always engaging, like hearing Arthur Russell play a MacBook instead of a cello.

Lange’s Phasor era began with a visit to a synthesiser in Illinois that generates its own music, but thankfully he hasn’t surrendered his creativity to the machines. Phasor is delicately human, mingling digital and analogue imperceptibly under plaintive vocals, coaxing effects and loops to create undimmable warmth.

Especially lush are the introspective romance of I Just Want to Wake Up With You (“float miles to see your face”, Lange murmurs) and the mysteriously eerie Best for You and Me. At just 35 minutes, Phasor might not be as all-enveloping as his previous efforts, yet it offers enough scraps of melody and moments of wonder that you won’t feel cheated.

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