Asthmatic Kitty Records
Helado Negro's debut album (or Roberto Carlos Lange latest project), Awe Owe, is a mix of traditionally structured songs sung and strummed by Lange, with heavy looping, samples, handclaps, the dabbling of woodwinds and Latin percussion. The album can be patchy as if intended for a canvas or tapestry. It's oddly mysterious, too, with 11 relatively short compositions that meander from one to another without much interruption. The album has a densely ambient feel, yet the repetitious sounds never command a repetitive feel.
After a half dozen listens, my curiosity for Awe Owe is greater. This record gradually becomes more intriguing with Lange's soft, blending voice, creepy echoes, and a distinct improvisational process heard between the rushing of fuzz and imitated water noise. Awe Owe starts off like a great summertime record and finishes off in autumn. The mood shifts from what has happened to what's to come. Awe Owe's strengths lie in the fact that it doesn't shove the listener anywhere in particular, but moves you nonetheless. Sadly, Awe Owe might be another great Asthmatic Kitty release to be overlooked this year. But just like DM Stith, Fol Chen, and Cryptacize, Helado Negro has my attention.