Sometimes I hear music that is so far outside the realm of possibilities that I want to know who likes it and who dances to it. I want to meet the kinds of people that are drawn to it and see how it works. Such is the case with Roberto Carlos Lange, an Ecuadorian who grew up in Florida and who calls himself Helado Negro (Black Ice), ice cream being his wife’s favorite food, he once told a reviewer, and Black, a curious nickname given him by his family.
To say that Lange makes music with a computer would shortchange the total effect of what it is he does. He samples and he sings, too, but the result is a dreamy whisper of sounds both enchanting and mildly claustrophobic. You go to Helado Negro to disconnect from reality for a while and learn that you are glad to come back and find the world is the way it is. For example: some patients that have finally come out of long comas said they could hear visitors and perceive their surroundings as if in a long-running dream. I wonder if the world sounds like Helado Negro to them.
I should think that San Diego State University’s director of electro-acoustic and media composition, Joseph Waters, would have much to discuss with Lange. The Ecuadorian plans to conduct a small orchestra by tethering each player to his fingers with yarn; Waters plans to fit the members of his band Swarmius and his audience with breathing tubes and play gigs underwater. Lange once had fans upload sounds for use on a recording via Google Voice; Waters once turned a bridge that spans the I-94 freeway into a xylophone.
Helado Negro is now touring behind Invisible Life, a record he claims is not a disconnection from his Hispanic roots or the past. Rather, he told a critic, “It’s what’s happening now, for us.”
Javelin and Jamaican Queens also perform.
Helado Negro: Casbah, Thursday, May 2, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $10.