Monday, January 17, 2005

24-Hour Tango People

Are you a fan of GoTan Project? If not, you should be.

In 2001 they released La Revancha del Tango, which blends tango rhythms and instrumentation with modern electronica and some surprising touches--like songs written by Gato Barbieri and Frank Zappa. The sound is absolutely irresistable: I have it in workday rotation and play it almost every day.

On Friday night at a local record store (which was absolutely amazing--I thought I must be somewhere other than Greenville, SC), I picked up a newish release of theirs called InspiraciĆ³n / EspiraciĆ³n (2004), which the sleeve describes as "A GoTan Project DJ set selected and mixed by Philippe Cohen Solal," one of the musicians behind GoTan Project.

As he describes the project, "We set ourselves the challenge of bringing together past influences and present aspirations for just one hour--the Ancients and the Moderns." He continues,

Here is a collision of artists who themselves may be unaware of their connection to each other: Calexico, Domingo Cura, Peter Kruder, Anibal Troilo, Anti Pop Consortium, GoTan Project, Pepe Bradock, Al Shid, and the voices of those Argentinian women, legendary figures, stars or unknowns, with names like Evita, Cecilia and Rita.

The play here is brilliant; check out track 3, GoTan Project meets Chet Baker to reimagine "Round About Midnight." Interesting remixes of GoTan's own material by Peter Kruder, Pepe Bradock, Calexico, Antipop Consortium.

And if you do not know the master Astor Piazzolla, you could do worse than surrounding yourself with him. Born in Mar del Plata, Argentina in 1921, he is not a producer of what would be called traditional tango, but someone who combined influences from jazz, Italian opera, and contemporary classicism to form nuevo tango, or New Tango. I am presently thinking back to his recording with Kronos Quartet from 1991, Five Tango Sensations, a piece he wrote in 1989. That was my first acquisition of Piazzolla, and I was immediately hooked. Each of the five pieces interprets a particular sensation--Asleep, Loving, Anxiety, Despertar, Fear--through the form of the tango.

More discography here.

Everyone is convinced. In addition to the GoTan stuff, there is Bajofondo Tango Club, which I have not heard, but which seems to be making similar moves.

And I can recommend the disk called Astor Piazzolla Remixed (2003), which reinterprets some of Piazzolla's recordings through the ears and mixboards of producers and musicians from around the world, including Koop, Nuspirit Helsinki, and Toshio Matsuura.

I'd say if musicians from Finland can find a touch of winter-resistant heat here, so could you.

1 comment:

freeman said...

Thanks for posting this.

The Gotan Project looks like something I'd like to check out.