Helado Negro (“Black Ice Cream” in English) is the project of electronic experimentalist Roberto Carlos Lange. In his other projects Lange has rebuilt sound; taking the vibrations like putty in his hands and reforming them. In Canta Lechuza (“owl singing”) he uses his knowledge and command of these effects and sounds to create music in a more compelling manner than some of his more abstract work. Although born in the United States, Lange is of Ecuadorian descent and his beautifully accented voice hoots, trembles and calls gently alongside his compositions.
Lange created this album in a piny retreat in rural Connecticut and Canta Lechuza is an increasingly mysterious stroll through darkening woodlands. It begins almost optimistically; passing the occasional resplendent plant or rippling brook along the way, but lost in your thoughts you are unlikely to notice the path take a steep descent into the murky shadows and sinister depths as the owl’s song lures you deeper. Despite its looming nature there is never any panic in the album as the music remains seductively mellow in keeping with Lange’s calm lifestyle. He looks out into the cosmos and sees its power, but does not yet feel its effect.
The many textures; clicks, buzzes, whirrs, burrs, clods, plops, wobbles and thuds in Canta Lechuza are likely to conjure different images and memories but without this particular variety the album could very easily wash over you without creating any desire for a second listen. The indistinct rhythms and simple melodies make listening to such a sonically creative album a rather bizarre, almost outer-body experience. It is a very subtle congregation of sounds that seems to suck you into a different world only to throw you out the other side with no real recollection of what has just taken place. This is an album for meditation; you must submerse in its entirety without regard to individual tracks, or indeed anything else around you; as it is only by relaxing through a number of songs that its relevance is revealed.