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Helado Negro’s homage to Asheville’s great outdoors

The Asheville-based singer-songwriter is set to take the stage at Eulogy this weekend, performing tracks from his latest release, “PHASOR.”

Roberto Carlos Lange (known as Helado Negro) in a yellow shirt with black dots and lines, putting on round sunglasses with white rims.

Dive into the carefully crafted sounds of Helado Negro’s latest Asheville-inspired album.

Photo by Sadie Culberson

Roberto Carlos Lange made the move from New York to Asheville several years ago, looking for a change. He’s been making music, or rather delicately crafting his own lush sonic universe, under the moniker Helado Negro since 2009.

In February of this year, Lange released his latest album “PHASOR,” which features nine tracks he produced, engineered, and mixed and which earned critical acclaim, including a title of Best New Music from Pitchfork. It’s his first album since residing in Asheville.

And now, he’s preparing to play a sold-out show this Sunday, April 21 at Eulogy (which happens to be on the musician’s Hyperlocal guide from Apple Maps, pinpointing some of his top local spots).

The inspiration behind “PHASOR”

The songs live in a world of their own, with intimate storytelling soundtracked by warm, spacey synths. But they were partially inspired by Lange’s reconnection with nature. He cites his long, local mountain hikes in Stories of PHASOR, a short film directed by Spencer Kelly that followed the creation of the album. But besides Asheville’s influence on the album’s themes, the city provided a change of pace for the musician.

“I think in a lot of ways, it afforded me this slow down, this different perspective on how to approach my own day-to-day habits of working,” Lange shared, “and how to hone what I’m doing with my music in terms of when I was writing and having a practice in my studio. I felt like a different approach.”

Beyond what can be gleaned from physical space, Lange is always on the hunt for stories. And the stories of composer and sonic meditation practitioner Pauline Oliveros (who coined the term “deep listening”) and Fender amp assembly worker Lupe Lopez (about whom very little is known) set the tone in the album’s opening track “LFO (Lupe Finds Oliveros).” Fender amps are marked with a piece of masking tape, identifying the builder — and across internet forums, Lopez’s amps are considered to be the best.

“I just wanted to make that connection between that and then this whole idea of deep listening — where somebody was listening deeply and heard the tone that Lupe got and then loved it,” Lange shared. “That’s the connection I made with Pauline, thinking about how it’s not just listening to music, but listening to yourself and listening to the work that you’re doing. These small things that you can do can really just echo and resonate through time.”

And in the same way that Lange takes a musical concept like deep listening and contextualizes it with poetic admiration, the album’s title is more than meets the eye. While you may get lost in the technical definition of phasor (after all, most of us aren’t engineers), Lange’s interpretation is much more human: “I abstracted it and thought about it more as a poem and this idea of how we are like waveforms ourselves. We’re always phasing in and out of life and with people and loved ones and all of our experiences. We’re always measuring those moments in terms of ‘what did that experience feel like?’”

If you’re looking to see Helado Negro live, unfortunately, tickets for Sunday’s show are all gone — but you can still sign up to join the waiting list to grab tickets if more become available and listen to the Asheville-inspired album in the meantime.