For the beginning of 2012 we have tango news, made in Germany from Cuarteto Bando and Iwan Harlan. In many aspects they differ from each other: quartet vs. solo artist, analog vs. digital, traditional vs. electro, East vs. West
... but what they do have in common is the passion for tango!
Let's start with Cuateto Bando y Caio Rodriguez.
"Reflexión del Tango"
is the name of the second album of this quartet, founded by the bandoneonist Jürgen Karthe. While on their first album "Tango A Tango" they presented strictly instrumentals, this time they collaborate with the singer Jorge Daniel "Caio" Rodriguez who lends his velvety-soft and clear voice to the emotions which make this CD alive and almost tear it appart.
Among the overall 22 songs there are many traditional tangos, most of them grandiosely reinterpreted. Especially remarkable in this respect is for example the version of "Percal" (Track 17). In Addition to these the album is rounded of – besides two "Piazzollas" – by three self-composed Songs (Tracks 5, 6, and 19)!
Even though the "Bando" in the name of this quartet is a diminutive for bandoneon it becomes clear pretty soon, that there is absolutely nothing to belittle about this skillfully played music! Jürgen Karthe's bandoneon is rather wholehearted, expressive, and obviously very experienced. And the piano often appears mighty and powerful. For example in "Ventanita de Arrabal" (Track 3), one of my favorites on this CD. "Gricel" (Track 4) is another one of the songs I like best and the self-composed "La Primavera Tarde" (Track 19) is big as well... and I could go on like this a little further
The Cuarteto, which was founded in 2006 and has firmly established itself in the international tango scene since then, is the third formation of Jürgen Karthe's, following the Sexteto Andorinha and the duo Tango Amoratado.
So for all of you who like this CD, listening to the other productions as well as to the first CD of Cuarteto Bando should be extremely worthwhile.
From these more classical arrangements we move on to modern electronic interpretations of tango:
Iwan Harlan's "Elonga Musik Vol. 1" is electronic, experimental, emotional... and danceable.
Which is certainly due to the fact that Harlan himself is a tango teacher. On top of that he is a sound engineer and musical multi-talent and after several other musical projects he has finally decided to delight us with a (E-)tango album!
The sound he creates is changing between extreme drive and a melancholic, intimate atmosphere, which makes you blind out everything except for your own dance. At other points the album has more lounge and sometimes a bit pop. But across the board we can rely on a good rhythm as for example in the guest apperances of Harlan's own Balkan ensemble "Turlitawa" (Tracks 12 und 13).
besides quite some "nontango" influences on "Elonga Music Vol. 1" you'll find many elements which we've all come to appreciate the stars of the e-tango for. "Conspiration" (Track 6) is a very good example for this. And "Bouffon" (Track 2) could become a 'classic' and accompany us for quite some time on nuevo-milongas!