We’d be excited under any circumstances for our avant troubadour of choice Roberto Carlos Lange (aka Helado Negro) to release a compilation of favorite tracks from his Island Universe Story series, but the bells and whistles he’s lined up around its release have us squealing.
First, the video game. Asthmatic Kitty, Helado Negro’s record label, has gifted us with the exclusive premiere of an arcade experience that you can play on your desktop or phone. In the game, you send Helado Negro’s disembodied head chomping down lanes like Ms. Pac Man, lusting after ice cream cones as you dodge music-hating ghosts, sounds from the LP playing in an appropriately lo-fi kind of way as you try to evade pixelated bad guys. Defeat the game and you get a free download of Island Universe Story: Selected Works.
Those of you who lack hand-eye coordination, don’t stress — we haven’t even talked about the tinsel vinyl yet.
Helado Negro is becoming notorious for the friends in silver tinsel suits he trots out during concert appearances (a style that may or may be getting jacked by more famous musical peers; we are looking at you Band of Horses). He makes a cute visual reference to these mystic beings with the release of the Selected Works LP on clear vinyl, shot through with no less than five colors of tinsel that you can choose from when you order.
This is the real way you want to listen to the selected songs from the Island Universe series, which maps a meandering star path between the chilled out “oohs” and “ahhs” of the sleek track “Detroit” to the more vocalized love songs à la “Mitad de Tu Mundo.” Packaged together in this way, the magic in Helado Negro’s vision surges to the fore, along with his lust for sharing memories and half-finalized thoughts with fans.
The label is being transparent about the fact that said tinsel may well result in occasional static pops, but do you care? Helado Negro has sealed his tinsel friends into this release like a baby scorpion in the acrylic nails of a Durango society babe.
For fans who have caught his live show (which you’ll be able to do in early July at Chicago’s Ruido Festival), the pageantry and special features surrounding the release represent another way of taking the experience back to your home turntable, a sum of everything that he’s put into the ethereal 2012-2014 series. Play the video game here.
You can also catch Helado Negro open for Natalia Lafourcade at PlayStation Theater in New York on July 7. Enter to win a pair of tickets to the show along with a copy of the limited edition tinsel vinyl below.