The originators continue to be the masters.
Chris Moss 2003-05-06
It's now seven years since Franco-Suizo-Argentine trio Gotan Project stirred up both the world music and club scenes with its edgy, knowing electronica based on the tango and its livelier sister-rhythm, milonga. Since the release of La Revancha del Tango (2001) there has been a boom in this new fusion, with tech-friendly artists sampling and remixing everything from Astor Piazzolla standards to scratchy 1930s ballads.
Too smart to screw up the "difficult second album", the Paris-based pioneers have renewed their approach, widening their musical palate to include spacey piano and steel guitar, 1970s disco beats and a mock cabaret sound redolent of the Bad Seeds. Jangling guitars are provided by guests Calexico, there'sgravelly rap from Afro-tango maestro Juan Carlos Cáceres and Cristina Villalonga is still doing her Dietrich thing with the words.
Generally lighter in mood than the debut, Lunático, named after a horse owned by tango legend Carlos Gardel, is also wittier and more confident. Rich string arrangements and a more tightly managed acoustic sound add depth and emotion. The competitive tango danced between the machines and the musical instruments is as wonderful as the real thing. Four years without a new release was a long time, but the months have been wisely used, and this album feels altogether more adult. The originators continue to be the masters.