Helado Negro, Invisible Life

Richard Gehr

By Richard Gehr

on 03.05.13 in Reviews
The most coherent of his albums of electronics con vocals

According to Invisible Life‘s credits, Helado Negro, the stage name of Ecuador-born Roberto Lange, “played the computer synthesizer to make this music.” That sounds about right. Invisible Life may be the most coherent of Helado Negro’s three albums of electronics con vocals, but it still has a distant, abstract quality to it even though it features, for the first time, four English-language tracks. The best of these, “Ghost Dance,” delivers Lange’s hookiest moment to date in the refrain, “There’s no one home, just the ghosts who dance alone.” Lange’s nearly constant headphone-happy percolations are reminiscent of his Savath y Savalas folktronic collaborations with Prefuse 73′s Scott Herren. Invisible Life also scoops up some Prince-ly falsetto R&B (“U Heard”), hints at a psychedelic samba (“Arboles”), and switches on the disco mirrorball (“Junes”). Lange sings in a low, disaffected voice, all the better to insinuate the vaporous emotions around lines such as “we came so far to see that here is only to make sure/ there’s no chance for you.” Or perhaps it just loses something in translation.