Yes! Helado Negro‘s Awe Owe is set to debut August 4th on Asthmatic Kitty. I heard this guy back at the beginning of May, when the teaser track, Deja, slipped out to pique curiosity. Since then, this release is one I’ve been drooling to hear. Like a happy kid at Christmas, I’m overjoyed to report it’s everything I’d hoped for and more. I love this guy’s style and vibe.
It’s wet. So wet. A rich blur. A splashy, warm, fecund rain. It makes me want to go out into the street, purchase produce in cutoffs, skip, laugh, play, absorb the heat and engage in fat humanity.
Awe Owe opens with Venceremos, a fantastive first-song hook throbbing with festive-yet-stoned urban Latin flair. Espuma Negra floats easy breezy with seagulls and cerveza at the beach before the sun drops, enhanced by lovely female vocals. Dos Suenos goes slow and dreamy, with a midsection of amazingly placed, never-overdone effects from whistles to metal clang to the sound of someone rifling through papers. Dahum grooves a spunky, interesting blend of old school rhythmic gyration plus loops and synth, horn sounds and tinkling bells…all internally heating while simultaneously chilling the hairs on your arms to stand on end. I Wish continues on a funky bent with driving groove and Star Wars-pinball sound effects that remind me of a good Beck adventure. A brief Playas cools like a melting, LSD-laced ice cube. Time Aparts carries the tone of spacious revelation in a Disney Fantasia garden with Van Dyke Parks. Awe goes lush indigenous instrumental. Ver a Ver is tickly, clock-ticking and just enough freaky. Santero trips down a rabbit hole adventure with jungle, tribal, woodwind-sounding breezes, lots of delay and jerky spotted mushroom whirls. Deja closes the masterfully concocted record with sweet, dizzy puddles to jumprope in on backalleys under plump post-storm rainbows. The final lyrics: “Somos hermanos (We are brothers).”
I’m telling you, this is great stuff. I just listened from start to finish and I’m ready to hit play again. This is the soundtrack I want to smoothe me out while navigating intractable emails as well as while kicking it in the backyard with friends.
“Throughout the album his vocals (with lyrics sung in Spanish), shrouded in wet reverbs and slappy delays, float above a weave of buoyant guitars and polyrhythmic sounds, conveying both transparent and abstract romantic-poetic ideas.” – AK