Confession: amidst the coronavirus lock-down, I met with someone on a lonely evening this week to dance two tango tandas outdoors. Yes, I am that kind of a rebel.
So far, my temperatures are normal and I only cough occasionally when I get a dry hit from my vape. No headaches, I am soaked in wine. Thanks for asking.
And no, I won't divulge her name.
I wouldn't have written this week's tanda of the week without having danced. Tango is a contact sport and cannot be performed virtually. Only writing about tango and not dancing and DJing it is a lot worse than masturbation. There's no climax to be had.
This week's tanda is progressive. Why "progressive"? I think the term "nuevo" is too generic to mean anything (Piazzolla is nuevo, right? His prime was in which decade again? Before I was born?). "Neo" is hostile to the "traditional", I am inclusive. Hence "progressive" - that's what I'm calling it from now on.
Enter four bands with four contemporary-sounding expressions of tango.
- Tango del infinito by El Cachivache Quinteto, 2018; A-minor at 54 BPM
- Creep by Orquesta Típica Andariega, 2019; C-major at 61 BPM
- Noches milongueras by Sexteto Fantasma, 2018; G-major modulating like crazy to finish at B-flat-Major, ~56 BPM
- No importa by Roger Davidson, 2014; A-minor at 58 BPM
I wanted a chill-out tanda for relaxation and intimate enjoyment.
Tango del infinito opens with a non-assuming theme, decisively modern but mostly consonant and pleasing. Other originals by the Cachivaches I've heard thus far tend to be more violent and dissonant; this one is calming.
Andariegas' Creep is supposedly a cover of a Radiohead track. Admittedly I am not a Radiohead fan and won't trouble myself with listening to the original. It has more edges than the opener, more push, while not speeding up much. This tanda need changes of energy from track to track to avoid putting you to sleep.
Noches milongueras by Fantasmas is calm again and soothing. Optimistic, too. There are multiple modulations within the song, not all of them done flawlessly (meaning you do notice them), which is how you get from C-major to B-flat Major. A cool chill piece.
I chose No importa to finish us off for no special reason. It brings more drama to the party without going over-board and has potent melodies. I remember playing Roger Davidson on milongas in 2014 and thinking how promising that ensemble was. They have not released anything since then, I think. Too bad.
Each milonga needs to have peaks and valleys. This tanda is for the valleys.
When people spend a lot of physical energy on fast D'Arienzos or demanding Puglieses, they want to relax a bit, maybe smoke a joint or drink some wine. This music goes very well with that, or you can dance to it and enjoy more personal space around you.
For progressive milongas, this would work great after a more intense work-out to calm people down.
image credit by Jens Johnsson