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‘LFO’ (which stands for Lupe Finds Oliveros), sung in Spanish, brings together inspiration from Lupe Lopez and the minimalist composer and sonic meditation practitioner Pauline Oliveros for a song about ambient stress and endless scrolling. Oliveros is well-known, Lopez maybe less so. Lopez was a Mexican American woman who worked for Fender Guitar building amplifiers in the 50’s. All the amps were marked on the inside by a piece of masking tape with the amp builder’s name on it. “Lupe’s amps are sought after, her care and touch apparently harnessed a special sound from this design," Roberto Carlos Lange aka Helado Negro explains. "I fell in love with this story and this legacy and the mythology surrounding it. How craft touches us so deeply in the smallest ways. Deep care for the littlest things makes all the difference.”
Some of the seeds for Phasor were planted in 2019 on Lange’s 39th birthday after a 5-hour visit to Salvatore Matirano’s SAL MAR machine at the University of Illinois. A complex synthesizer that creates music generatively with a vintage super computer brain and analog oscillators, it can create an infinite amount of possibilities in sound sequences. “I was enthralled by it,” Lange recalls.
That SAL MAR experience became the bedrock for Phasor. It taught Lange more about himself and became central to his creative process. “It gave me special insight into what stimulates me,” Lange explains. “This pursuit of constant curiosity in process and outcome. The songs are the fruit, but I love what’s under the dirt. The unseen magical process. I don’t want everybody to see it because not everyone cares to see it. Some of us just want the fruit. I do. But I want to grow the fruit, too.”
Phasor is Lange’s tightest collection—deep, atmospheric, meticulously executed. It’s aligned with 2019’s This Is How You Smile which found him incorporating more upfront drums and bass and focused grooves. His 2021 album, Far In, focused on being in quarantine—talking to your mother through Zoom instead of across a room. Phasor, in turn, is a homage to going outside again. It’s a returning-to-life record, remembering what the sun feels like and letting it warm your skin.
Barry says: The First thing that struck me about Helado Negro's new LP for indie mainstays 4AD was how sumptuous the production is. It's a beautifully rich, syrupy selection of sidechained shuffling percussion and soulful vocals. On top of that, Lange's vocals add layers of laid-back groove and shimmering, echoing ambience.
1. LFO (Lupe Finds Oliveros)
2. I Just Want To Wake Up With You
3. Best For You And Me
4. Colores Del Mar
5. Echo Tricks Me
6. Out There
8. Wish You Could Be Here
9. Es Una Fantasia