Señor Coconut y Su Conjunto

El Baile Alemán (Emperor Norton Records)

On paper it is, at best, a dubious concept: a Latin dance combo covering German avant-garde pioneers Kraftwerk's repetitive back catalog. It would seem that the two types of music, both of which possess a somewhat limited appeal, would probably hold allure for almost no one when merged together. In execution, however, the unification works quite well, so score one for Señor Coconut y Su Conjunto. Su Conjunto, a former Frankfurt resident named Uwe Schmidt who relocated to Santiago, leads his band through a merengue version of "Autobahn," a cha-cha-cha take on "Showroom Dummies," and other lively renditions of previously robotic tracks. Kraftwerk's sparse songs offer a virtually blank canvas for musical embellishment, such as the trumpets and maracas Su Conjunto uses to turn pulsing industrial beats into exotic rhythms. After a few careful listens, El Baile Alemán seems less like a joke and more like an inspired piece of, ahem, "werk."

 
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