First Listen: Helado Negro, 'Canta Lechuza'

Roberto Carlos Lange's new album Canta Lechuza comes out May 10. i i

Roberto Carlos Lange's new album Canta Lechuza comes out May 10. Eve Sussman/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Eve Sussman/Courtesy of the artist
Roberto Carlos Lange's new album Canta Lechuza comes out May 10.

Roberto Carlos Lange's new album Canta Lechuza comes out May 10.

Eve Sussman/Courtesy of the artist

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As music-making electronics have grown ever more sophisticated, groundbreaking new musicians have emerged as a byproduct. Helado Negro is one of them.

Spanish for "Black Ice Cream," Helado Negro is one of a few musical projects led by Roberto Carlos Lange. Born to Ecuadorian parents in South Florida and currently located in Brooklyn, Lange functions as a kind of sound sculptor. His work as Helado Negro brings together disparate instruments, beats, melodies and found audio, creating a sonic landscape that reflects 21st-century Latin America.

The newest Helado Negro album, out May 10, is titled Canta Lechuza ("Owl Singing"). To record it, Lange holed up in a rustic cabin in the wilds of Connecticut with a variety of recorded samples, loops, synthesizers and live instruments at his disposal. It's full of sounds commonly associated with electronica: percussive foundations, electronic blips, samples of human voices, nature sounds. The songs, however, are constructed with the classic devices of pop music: catchy choruses, clever bridges, deliberate starts and definitive endings.

Though Canta Lechuza may have been made in the Northeast U.S., its sensibilities are decidedly Latin American. Lange sings in Spanish on many tracks; in others, the familiar sound of traditional Latin American rhythms and instruments can be heard floating beneath his wispy vocals. Helado Negro is among the musicians currently redefining Latino culture worldwide, with music that crosses borders as easily as a diplomatic passport.

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