Gotan Project - Lunatico
The Gotan Project's album La Revancha Del Tango was an impressive and successful debut. I remember first hearing it on a hot summers evening flowing from the speakers, a perfect soundtrack to partying with friends outside with it's blend of electronica and Latin rhythms able to please fans of both types of music; taking the traditional and fusing it with the modern - dance beats with French accordions, pianos and a tango tempo.
It's taken them five years to complete their second album with only a series of remixes in between. It's obviously been a tough ask trying to develop their original theme without rehashing their previous attempts. What we have here is a slightly different beast to their debut. They've obviously become more accomplished in their arrangements; everything here sounds incredibly lush and exquisitely produced with an added polish and sheen that wasn't on La Revancha.... However, all the elements that made that record are still here - the French piano and accordion, the Latin rhythms and the dance beats but it's the more organic and traditional elements of the music have been given more freedom, more air to breathe. Those who enjoyed the more electronic elements of the debut and remixes will be disappointed, this is more chill out than disco party, the tempo has noticeably dropped.
To add another twist to proceedings they've managed to bring in a few more collaborators; Calexico bring their Mexican influences to the opening track Amor Porteno and Koxmoz brings an almost rap quality to Mi Confesion which gives some urgency to proceedings that may be lacking elsewhere. In fact it doesn't seem out of place to hear Calexico on this record. Lunatico brings to mind, in places, their early albums which were full of desert soundscapes and acted like a soundtrack to a Latin American film. One of the highlights of this album is the closing track Paris, Texas which is presumably named after the Wim Wenders film and brings to mind the open scenes of desert and desperation of that movie - gentle drumming with a simple accordion and acoustic guitar which builds and then fades in a way that exemplifies the new approach that the Gotan Project has taken on this album.
Anyone looking for the dance thrills and pre-clubbing urgency of their debut will be disappointed here and will probably want to wait for the inevitably remix album, but those who want a more refined, almost chill out album, with real music and hints of beats and electronica which can conjure up far away scenes and places, then look no further. It's certainly going to be intriguing to see where they go from here.