Helado Negro – Canta Lechuza

January 01, 1970

(Asthmatic
Kitty)

 

www.asthmatickitty.com

 

To
record his second album under the name Helado Negro, Roberto Lange apparently
ventured out into the woods of Connecticut
and holed himself up in a cabin. The setting proved fruitful because Canta Lechuza sounds very relaxed and
tranquil. Electronic beats and all manner of synthesizers (bloopy and meaty)
frame the songs, over which Lange sings in Spanish. Like the best work by
Françoise Hardy or Serge Gainsbourg, the language barrier doesn’t take away
from the song. It would be nice to know what’s on Lange’s mind once in a while,
though.

 

What
does detract from the album can be traced to the same element that bogs down
many albums that are created by one musician: Several songs are based on one
idea that doesn’t get fleshed out so much as it gets built upon vertically. In
this case a couple of chords outline the songs, and the only deviation comes
when other keyboards bounce in and bounce out, without offering too much of a
break from the initial idea. Granted that’s what a lot of electronic and dance
music is all about, but Helado Negro’s debut Awe Owe took all kinds of weird left turns by throwing the odd
clarinet break or using guest vocalists to ensure that things never sounded
typical. Many of the songs here sound fairly stark.

 

Lange
utilizes some clever percussive devices. “Calculus” has three-dimensional
ping-pong percussion that sounds like a sample of knee-slapping. A sound so
distorted that it could be either an instrument or the human voice is the basis
of “Oreja de Arena”‘s beat, while “Regresa” is built on the percussive rattle
of an effects-heavy guitar. Moments like these bring out the skill in Lange’s
studio work and prove that Canta Lechuza would be best enjoyed not on the dancefloor but in the privacy of your own home
between two headphones

.

DOWNLOAD: “Regresa,” “Oreja De
Arena.” MIKE
SHANLEY

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