Plaza Francia can be seen as the legitimate successors of Gotan Project, with Argentine Eduardo Makaroff (guitars) and Swiss-born Christoph H. Müller (e-piano, synthesizer and programming) as composers and producers, and French actress-singer Catherine Ringer of the 80th avantgard-rock-pop project Les Rita Mitsouko as interpret of their songs.
Gotan Project (featuring Katalan singer Cristina Vilallonga) left a deep impact with their influential 2001 electro tango release ”La Revancha del Tango”. When they split it seemed difficult to fill this gap. Then in 2014, Müller & Makaroff published their new songs as a beautiful mélange of tango, French pop songs and diverse other ingredients. Surprisingly, the Gotan Project ‘relicts’ Müller & Makaroff had no big problem to underline that they are still highly relevant for the contemporary tango music scene. Their songs are fascinating and grooving, have good progressions and catchy melodies.
The trio was supported by additional musicians, i.e., Gilberto Pereyra and Facundo Torres (bandoneon), Romain Lécuyer (double bass), Gustavo Beytelmann (piano), Earl Harvin (drums), a string quartet and a brass section (arranged by tango composer-pianist Gustavo Beytelmann), and others. Müller & Makaroff clearly left their former electro tango approach and present their new tracks as contemporary tango-chansons with elegant acoustic arrangements.
Catherine Ringer sings with her characteristic ‘low register’ voice which fits perfectly to these modern tangos. For me, the main melodic line of the “Cada vez” chorus is not really suited for her vocal range and this is the only minus among so many plusses which makes this album attractive and a warrantor of pleasure, i.e., the grooving La mano encima (the only track with sequencer bass) or the wonderful elegiac “Cenizas” with its melodic progression alternatingly headed by brass section and strings and bandoneon in the chorus (my personal highlight of the album).
With a winking eye the lyrics of this “New Tango Song Book” were reproduced with guitar chords in the CD booklet; obviously to facilitate that the younger generation of musicians can learn them more easily. Several are indeed essential and will surely find their way to the international dance floors.