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Image for Helado Negro's "Outside the Outside." Photo: Nathan Bajar
Image for Helado Negro's "Outside the Outside." Photo: Nathan Bajar

Helado Negro looks towards the future with dreamlike seventh full-length LP

Far In is also the artist’s first album to be released through the legendary 4AD record label.

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Roberto Carlos Lange goes by the stage name Helado Negro. Lange was born to Ecuadorian immigrants in South Florida, and grew up frequently listening to 80s club songs.

The artist released his seventh studio album, Far In, last week on Oct. 22, adding to an already expansive discography.

The album is Helado’s first on the legendary 4AD record label, known for putting on a number of experimental and rule-breaking acts, such as This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, and Pixies.

Founded by British producer Ivo Watts-Russell, 4AD was born to support big-thinking artists. The label’s influence expands into today with acts such as Grimes and Big Thief in addition to Helado Negro.

How Far In came to be

Lange began writing Far In right after the release of his 2019 LP, This is How You Smile

The pandemic to take place soon after he began writing highly affected Far In’s properties, prompting Lange to create entirely from a domestic setting when finishing the new record. 

Still, before the defining events of 2020 occurred, Helado had the chance to invite some friends to his Brooklyn studio in 2019 to record.

It’s here that songs such as “Wake Up Tomorrow” — the album’s opener, featuring Kacy Hill — were recorded. 

Helado also motioned the release of his album with a few spectacular singles, including the sweetened “La Naranja,” and “There Must Be A Song Like You” released just two days prior to Far In’s arrival.

The music video was directed by Andrew Anderson. As was the case with visuals from “La Naranja,” Lange is the center of focus.

Lange rolls down empty roads as if on a bicycle, while close-ups of the singer depict a varied array of emotions ranging from contemplation to understanding. 

The truly picturesque locations utilized make for some breathtaking visuals.

Once the events of 2020 began causing lockdowns, Lange and his partner Kristi Sword found themselves living in Marfa, Texas for the Summer. 

The trip to Marfa — originally an opportunity to record for their side project, Kite Symphony — was only supposed to last two weeks.

The song “Thank You For Ever” was recorded here as a gesture of gratitude for their experience in the desert city, isolated from the misfortune many sought to avoid.

Far In’s ghastly influences

Far In has some remarkable influences, pulling from pieces of pop culture and horror through indirect means.

Album opener “Wake Up Tomorrow” was inspired by an episode of the Twilight Zone titled “Come Wander With Me” — the last episode filmed for the original series.

In the episode, a folk singer played by actress Bonnie Beecher is caught in a time loop. Aspects of “Wake Up Tomorrow” were inspired by the “erie persuasion” of Beecher’s vocals.

Throughout Far In, Helado lets his imagination go wild. All things ghostly, haunted, and imaginary are considered; inspirations ranging from science-fiction to Lange’s own imagination.

According to Helado Negro, Far In was a place to “embrace the ghosts,” and this shows through the LP’s sonic attributes. 

Kacy Hill’s contribution is only one example of ghastly vocal sections on Far In. Oftentimes, Lange’s own vocals border on ghostlike and angelic.

This combination of emotions is a fitting expression, illustrating anxiety’s effects over an individual unafraid to venture into the unknown with open arms.

Paired with Lange’s nebulous vocal delivery and range, Far In employs seamless and smooth instrumentation as inspired as it is sincere.

From the jumpy synths and baseline of “La Naranja” to the heavenly melody of the Moog Grandmother on “Aguas Frías,” the production is layered and handled with the utmost care.

Far In is available on streaming platforms and for purchase through 4AD now.

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