Helado Negro Shares Sci-Fi Lullaby Inspired by Michael Brown and Robots

Lead Photo: Photo by Ben Sellon. Courtesy of Helado Negro
Photo by Ben Sellon. Courtesy of Helado Negro
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Last year, Helado Negro gave us the poised “Young, Latin & Proud,” an unhurried track that is both an easygoing anthem and a proud Latinx lullaby. Now, he’s got more for us: The Brooklyn-based producer and electronic artist just announced he’ll be releasing a new album titled Private Energy on September 30, 2016.

The lead single “Runaround” is streaming now, and offers a taste of what will be on the upcoming release. Helado Negro (aka Roberto Carlos Lange) is a guy who goes for subtle rather than splashy, heating his songs to a boil but never letting anything completely overflow. “Runaround” is in this vein, with its kraut rock-y sensibilities and gradual, quivering beat.

Helado Negro’s baritone is relaxed and even a little sleepy — a quiet Bertrand Belin or Zach Condon with way more swag. Don’t let the lull of his voice fool you, though; his lyrics are meaningfully sharp and alert. The artist revealed that he wrote “Runaround” in November 2014, when a grand jury failed to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown. The title of the song came from an eponymous Isaac Asimov short story about a robot conflicted with its internal rules. “This line from the story describes the feeling of trying to find meaning and understanding in our troubled world: ‘No love can cut our knife in two,’” he shared.

A good bit of looping and repeated whispers reinforce the song’s title, conveying a sense of circuitousness. The whole thing trails off gently and feels like waddling off into an uncertain sci-fi dream.

Private Energy will also include “Young, Latin & Proud,” and we’re counting down to hear what else will make it on there. Helado Negro will open for Beirut on several dates in August, October, and November, and he’ll head on his biggest U.S. headline tour in the fall. See dates below.

July 31, 2016 – State Theatre – Portland, ME (With Beirut)
August 1, 2016 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY (With Beirut)
October 9, 2016 – III Points Festival – Miami, FL
October 11, 2016 – The Vera Project – Seattle, WA
October 12, 2016 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
October 13, 2016 – Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA
October 15, 2016 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA
October 20, 2016 – Hideout – Chicago, IL
October 21, 2016 – The Frequency – Madison, WI
October 22, 2016 – Des Moines Social Club – Des Moines, IA
October 23, 2016 – The Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
October 24, 2016 – Urban Artifact – Cincinnati, OH
October 25, 2016 – The Hi-Fi – Indianapolis, IN
October 26, 2016 – Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts – Louisville, KY
October 27, 2016 – 21c Museum Hotel – Lexington, KY
October 28, 2016 – Majestic Cafe – Detroit, MI
October 29, 2016 – The Drake – Toronto, ON
October 30, 2016 – L’Escogriffe – Montreal, QC
October 31, 2016 – Light Club Lamp Shop – Burlington, VT
November 1, 2016 – Wonder Bar – Allston, MA (With Buscabulla)
November 2, 2016 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY (With Buscabulla)
November 3, 2016 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA (With Buscabulla)
November 4, 2016 – Ottobar – Baltimore, MD (With Buscabulla)
November 5, 2016 – Duke Coffeehouse – Durham, NC
November 6, 2016 – Masquerade (Purgatory Stage) – Atlanta, GA
November 7, 2016 – Strange Matter – Richmond, VA