Ya Basta Records, 2001
The dark, brooding machismo of ArgentineanTango meets hip downbeat club grooves in Gotan Project's La Revancha Del Tango. The team of Philippe Cohen Solal and Christophe H. Müller, collaborators on earlier projects like Stereo Action Unlimited and Boys From Brazil, joins forces with Eduardo Makaroff, Gustavo Beytelmann and Nini Flores to inject some organic bandoneon textures and piano snippets into the synthetic milieu of electronica, even giving this makeover treatment to Piazzolla's "Vuelvo al Sur", coolly smoldering vocals compliments of Cristina Villalonga.

By replacing the Tzigane-flavored support of, say Juan-Jose Mosalini's Grande Orchestra de Tango and its expanded string section with the far sparser, shadowier support of synth bass, drum grooves and minimalist piano, violin or guitar lines, Revancha strangely heightens Tango's angular frisson of erotica, suffering and marginalized environs. The nearly lascivious juiciness of the original is transformed into a palette-de-tristesse, of ochre earth tones already suggested by the cropped clavicle shot on the cover that hints at sensual undercurrents as well as darkened timbres.

As is true for most electronica, beat fixation remains the primary attraction and focus for Revancha. It's about hitting the groove and staying in it. Spanish voice-over fragments adds a touch of exotica while the overall concept recalls Higher Octave's Moroccan Spirit or the Flamenco-flavored B-Tribe exploits. A recognizable genre of music is appropriated by electronica, stripped of all excess and embellishments to the bare essentials, then transplanted into the club scene to put the moves on it - more compelling than descriptions of its basic simplicity would let on.