Julianna Barwick has never delivered anything less than true serenity, Helado Negro (aka Roberto Carlos Lange ) has created ambience, experiments and sun-soaked getaways through his impressive back-catalogue. So now the two Asthmatic Kitty signed artists have become friends and made a record under the moniker OMBRE.
You can’t categorise a record that weaves in the laid back tones of Miles Davis circa Some Kind of Blue, dub-like rhythms on acoustic guitars, bathes under drone-like skies and explores electrical landscapes that shimmer via the open minds of their creators. You can however soak up the intricately drawn and beguiling atmosphere that is threaded through Believe You Me, an almost spiritual sensibility where emotion trumps structure every time.
I’m in awe of most of what is here, like Cara Falsa with its synth-built rhythm and Barwick’s ethereal tones atop a cinematic progression. Weight Those Words is Helado Negro bringing his South-American roots inwards – the laid back guitar takes the tempo horizontal whilst the tinkering vibraphone and easygoing vocal from Negro creates a sense of time slowing.
There are subtle diversions arrangement wise, yet nothing steps from the glacial ambience they’ve somehow learnt from each other. The Nod works with glitchy electronics and Barwick’s endlessly looping vocal, wound together with a sliding bassline and clear guitar. Dawning, meanwhile, initially rumbles like a beautiful storm – Barwick’s ability to create a choral wave with her voice is used to form an imminent awakening, enhanced and backed by the swelling chords – a cathedral for reflection before time runs out.
Much like the Mirrorring record released earlier this year (which paired Tiny Vipers and Grouper) OMBRE inhibits a world that could only be reached via the process of collaboration and a willingness to learn. In fact I’d go so far to say that this album transcends both the artists’ solo efforts, which is high praise indeed.