Dance Like They Do In France
While a thriving electronic music scene is taking France by storm, the Paris based music group, Gotan Project, opts for a simpler approach. Their 2010 album, Tango 3.0, celebrates not only the advent of tango electronica as a prominent form of music, but also their 10 year anniversary as a band. The album consists of 11 tracks which takes listeners on a whirlwind tour of the most gorgeous parts of France without leaving home.
The sultry sounds of Tango 3.0 invoke the imagery of summer in the Riviera, curbside brunch, and a deep seeded French romanticism, in addition to any other French stereotypes your imagination might conjure when listening to accordions and the soothing lyrics of multi-instrumentalist Frenchman, Eduardo Makaroff. The short and sweet song, “Tango Square,” opens the album and is especially representative of these qualities via slow and sexy drumming reminiscent of a Burlesque show, rhythmic accordion, and nu-jazz keys. The compulsion to wear a beret while chain smoking cigarettes and drinking wine is commendable.
The very Pink Panther-esque “De Homre a Homre” uses a downtempo guitar rhythm alongside a series of jazzy percussion and piano to create a beautifully funky song that even Inspector Clouseau could get down to. Other notable songs include “Rayule,” in which melodic strings and horns accompany Makaroff and a choir of children singing in French. The award winning Argentinian musician, Daniel Melingo, sings on “Tu Misterio,” which is complemented by its trip-hop percussions and subtle dub overtones.
Truly a French masterpiece, Tango 3.0 combines traditional musical styles with contemporary trends to produce an innovative work of aural art. While listening to Gotan Project, a lingering comparison in the back of my mind sees the group as the French version of Oakland’s Beats Antique. The only minuet deterrent to English speaking audiences listening to this album is that the lyrics are entirely in French. As the music is fun, sexy, and highly enjoyable, this should not pose much of a problem for most, however, if you are someone who appreciates the lyrical content of music before the instrumentation, this may not be the album for you. For those who crave world music, French culture, or just jazzy tango beats, look no further than Tango 3.0 to satisfy.