Helado Negro - Awe Owe
Now this is a really good record, with a nice line in subtle lo-fi textures and dreamy other-worldly Latin pop. It nearly passed me by for 3 months; such is the unprepossessing nature of the cover, which looks like an overblown scribble in a school exercise book. Still, a track like Espuma Negra is typical of the music on the LP; beautiful pop songs driven by a scratchy, mainly acoustic web of sound. Another example is Dahum; a collage of soft, undemonstrative samples and noises that somehow contrives to yield up a beautiful melody along the way. And when the Clarinet and Harmonium join forces in the song’s tail out, the effect is sublime and deep in Moondog territory.
The tempo for the most part is, shall we say, somnolent; Dos Suenos is to all effects a lullaby, boasting as it does a sweetly cooing female vocal. I Wish gets a bit jazzy mind, which raises the pulse a notch or two amidships, whereas Awe is a steady rhythmic shuffle, at times drawing on what sounds like a sample of a steel band underwater and a horde of ants.
This is a mildly psychedelic record, and tracks like Playas and Time Aparts reminds this reviewer of the hazy sonic stew AR Kane could cook up. It’s also extremely accessible, despite all the sonic stylings diverse sessions and guests, and borrowings. Check out the formidable last track Deja which for some reason puts me in mind of the French acoustic ballad (you know, the last track) on The Faust Tapes, such is its off-centre charm. The LP won’t grab you by the throat, but by lordy, it’s one whose melodies and textures stick in your head.
Worth hunting down for sure.
Words: Richard Foster