Music News

Gotan Project

The United States' latest ventures abroad prove that our country is far better at combating cultures than at mixing with them. So perhaps it makes sense that three dudes from our favorite scapegoat nation should remind us about the art of the enlightened blend. Having already sold a half-million copies of La Revancha del Tango in Europe, the French production trio Gotan Project now presents its boogiefied Argentine dance tracks for American consumption.

For La Revancha, Gotan programmers Philippe Cohen Solal and Christoph H. Müller enlisted guitarist Eduardo Makaroff and a crew of his fellow Paris-based Argentine musicians to carry tango across the electronica threshold and into conjugal bliss. This May-December marriage works miraculously well: It turns out that funky, dubbed-out breakbeat arrangements perfectly suit the minor-key instrumentation of the tango. Pianist Gustavo Beytelmann effortlessly rides the snappy, up-tempo rhythm of "Tríptico" and the African percussion of "La del Ruso," while Nini Flores dapples breathy tones on the accordionlike bandoneon around chanteuse Cristina Villalonga's wearied vocals on "Una Música Brutal." Solal and Müller's expert arrangements -- which combine subtly powerful beats and grounded bass lines -- round off each tune.

La Revancha del Tango's success may be due in part to the fact that its key elements are outlaw fodder for generations past. Two decades before the cops started shutting down raves in the '90s, the tango musicians on this album fled Argentina's military junta. As Gotan Project's music crosses stylistic, geographical and temporal boundaries in an effort to yank us Yankees onto the dance floor, we could do a lot worse than accept their invite.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ron Nachman