Experiencing an album from Helado Negro, aka Roberto Carlos Lange, feels more like twisting a kaleidoscope than plodding through a sequence of tracks. One song starts sounding like My Morning Jacket, then morphs to become more reminiscent of Blood Orange before finally transitioning into another song that’s more evocative of Seu Jorge. All the while, Lange weaves between English and Spanish so seamlessly it’s almost impossible to notice the transition. Though he had a substantial following throughout the 2010s, Lange achieved breakout success with 2019’s This Is How You Smile, an album that manages to bottle a bit of the sun-faded quality of childhood memory without ever sounding saccharine. Helado Negro’s new album, Far In, was crafted, in part, while the artist was stranded in Texas with his partner at the height of pandemic lockdowns. (Their short trip south to collaborate on a multimedia project became a six-month ordeal when COVID hit.) It’s a relaxing album, but not in a sedative, mind-deadening way. Instead it’s a much-needed antidote to the opiate of YouTube lo-fi, a sage reminder that art’s modes are not restricted to the binary of “challenging misery” and “vapid pleasure.” May 4 at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25.
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