Sean A. McGee - ElectroTango Composer

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'Dance Today' review ~ October 2010

'Dance Dynamic' review ~ November 2010

'Dancing in the UK' review ~ Winter 2010/11

'Entertainment Focus' review ~ November 2010


by Veronika Fischer

Quite a few new electrotango CDs have emerged during the last four or five years - compilations, CDs by unknown artists, joint projects and well-known artists making their entry into something new. A very few moved mainstream, most contain a few danceable tracks, but that's that. So I somehow was skeptical when receiving this CD.

Sean McGee, who among other things composes film music and is an renowned artist, discovered tango in 2009. Both dance and music intringued him to such an extent that he wanted to create „ambient chill-out music with tango rhythm both for dancing and listening". Regrettably, the composer could not combine year-long tango argentino experience. However, it becomes obvious he's learned his trade - i.e. composing - when compared to ambitious leisure-time musicians. The tracks are professionally drafted, melody and rhythm well structured and varied, providing a well-balanced listening experience.

When encountering a film music composer doing tango, nearly every tanguero would think of Santaolalla and Bajofondo Tangoclub. However, there are some differences - on the one hand, the professionally managed, but grown Uruguayan band with bandoneónes, a dark-haired frontman with a husky voice and tango rhythm in their blood. On the other hand, a European, artistic and mainly digitally produced album. Is it fair to compare the two? Are they comparable?

It's remarkable that most tracks are based on downbeat, generating a softer, chilled-out kind of feeling - an uncommon feature in other electrotango pieces. Also, the major mode, samples of seagulls' screeches and samba rhythm ("La salida del sol"), as well as a melody switching between different "instruments" create an energetic dynamic, but also make high demands on dancers. Moreover, the listener might find it difficult to recognize some tracks instantly, as they would with other electrotango pieces.

The DJ test revealed „Nebulosa de los sueños" as most popular, followd by „3 years too late?", „Paradoja", and „Lucky eights". Tracks such as „Es que te quiero" and „Caricia" are a solid background music for lounging or training.

All in all, I recommend this CD for occasional use in an electrotango tanda, especially as the sound character differs from established tracks. Let's see how Sean McGee's second electrotango CD, also covering valses, turn out: not only is vals the rhythm not at all covered by other artists of the genre, but I also expect both composition and sound character of the current CD to fit perfectly with vals.

(first published in German Magazine Tangodanza, 2/2011)

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