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Various Astor Piallozza Remixed

It takes two to tango, and this superb compilation proves that even if the two are separated by several decades and a few oceans, the music can still be magic. Organized by Jean Christophe Chamboredon for Milan Records, a Los Angeles label specializing in soundtracks, Astor Piazzolla Remixed pulls together a rich collection of artists known for their open-border approach to production, and lets them loose with the original master tapes of Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. Piazzolla was born in Argentina in 1921, but spent his first fourteen years in New York, where he began to play the bandoneon, the distinctive accordian-like instrument characteristic of the tango, while soaking up the huge array of music available. Piazzolla's own music was something of a remix project before the phrase, for upon his return to Argentina, he combined elements of jazz, classical and folk to forge "nuevo tango," much to the dismay of some of his contemporaries who did not want anyone toying with their national dance. Fortunately, Piazzolla ignored his critics, and went on to create a massive body of work filled with a passion that continues to inspire others 10 years after his death. "Not only is it an honor to remix Astor Piazolla [but] I'm lucky to be in the company with all of the other great producers and composers on this project," said Detroit-LA native John Beltran (Ubiquity, Transmat), whose hypnotic re-rub of "Revirado" features light production to great effect, letting strings swirl mysteriously around a looped bandoneon flourish. The list of artists who contributed is somewhat astounding-4Hero, Alexkid, Nickodemus and Osiris, Koop, Osunlade and more, although a rumored turn by MAW's Little Louie Vega apparently fell through. The most successful tracks are those that bring to the fore Piazolla's underlying melancholy and hint of menace, as Fantasista does with "Resurrecci?n del Angel." Fantasista, a.k.a. Toshio Matsuura of United Future Organization, takes two drawn-out cello notes and wrings them for all they're worth, building tension with ominous drums before lacing the breakdown with slightly dissonant bandoneon. Nu Spirit Helsinki take a similarly dramatic approach to "Verano Porte?o," filling it with haunted spaces and brushes that stalk over drum heads like dancers across a ballroom. Though Astor Piazolla Remixed is not an unmitigated success (John Arnold's "Calambre" is a bit fey, and Ricochet's "Duo de Amor" plods along dully) neither was Piazzolla's oeuvre, for mistakes are inevitable if one dares to take chances. For listeners in search of timeless passion interpreted by some of today's most inventive producers, Astor Piazolla Remixed is a sure bet. "

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