Brooklyn-based producer Roberto Carlos Lange a.k.a Helado Negro makes musical soundscapes so entrancing that I forget that I don’t know a lot of Spanish (yet). His compositions are deep electronic grooves that stay on the mind long after the song is finished. The son of Ecuadorean immigrants, Lange’s production is similar to the work of multi-instrumentalist Santiago Vasquez yet Lange keeps it more chilled out. On the heels of his latest full-length Invisible Life from earlier in 2013, Lange has released the second volume in the Island Universe Story series. As he states in his notes, these songs are not “outtakes or afterthoughts or byproducts or B-sides”. They move along with the full length recordings.
The opener, “Stop Living Dead”, features a double string quartet and was composed with Trey Pollard. The results are like a suspenseful foreshadowing to a feature film presentation. “Las Preguntas” follows with a bouncy pop melody, and “Detroit” sports a thick synth bass line with a slight new wave nod. “Enters” is a tasty footwork/pop piece followed by the darker house-flavored “We Will You”. “Linea Doblado” brings back the tense, unsettling melody referenced near the end of the opening piece for about a minute then, together with the double string quartet, “Wobble” moves across your ears as a ghostly sonic exploration. Wilco’s Mikael Jorgenson guests on reggae-tinged “Mitad Del Mundo” and ends with another bouncy pop piece, “Circulo”. With music this fun, it reminds me why my favorite part of school was storytime.