Who is Se??or Coconut?

The godfather of Latin electronic music releases new CD and classic reissue

Published on LatinoLA: December 3, 2008

Who is Se??or Coconut?

Se??or Coconut's new album 'Around the World' is out now in stores nationwide along with a reissue of the acclaimed 'El Baile Alem?ín'. Se??or Coconut, aka Atom or Uwe Schmidt, is often regarded as the godfather of Latin electronic music. The German producer and DJ, based in Santiago, Chile, originally burst onto the international music scene with 'El Baile Alem?ín', a Latin tribute to electronica pioneers Kraftwerk. The classic album is now available for the first time at digital outlets and the physical disc has also been re-issued in stores with bonus tracks.

His new album, 'Around the World', takes the listener on a global tour through a collection of Latin tributes to club hits. In order to inject his special Coconut magic, he reassembles and surgically processes each track, and then records with the big band that he has toured with for years. 'Around the World' features Daft Punk's seminal track by the same name as the glue that holds the entire album together (as an intro, interlude and outro). Se??or Cocount takes the original song from the depths of a sweaty club and places it firmly in a Latin dancehall with a multi-layered sound of brass, double bass and an orchestra of drummers.

"Once 'Around the World' had been established as the theme and motto of the album, it was clear what the selection criteria for the songs had to be," Se??or Coconut explains. "The first prerequisite was that every track had to come from a different country."

"Sweet Dreams" is a take on the Eurythmics classic, with vocals by Se??or Coconut's frontman Argenis Brito, a Venezuelan singer based in Berlin. Prince's timeless hit "Kiss" is sung by the crooner Louie Austen, considered the "Viennese Frank Sinatra". "One track which had been in my thoughts for years for a Se??or Coconut production was 'Sweet Dreams,' purely and simply because it is rhythmically and melodically a perfect Cha-Cha-Cha," Coconut says. "I suddenly heard certain lines of the lyrics which I had not noticed at first, and which provided a curious cross-reference to 'Around the World': 'I traveled the world and the seven seas... Everybody's looking for something.'"

With 'El Baile Aleman', Se??or Coconut transposed Kraftwerk byte-for-byte into a soundfield of maracas, congas, shakers, and vibes-a-go-go. The reserved sounds of Germany's electronic legends give way surprisingly easily to Coconut's swings and rumbas, lending the music a sexy edge it never quite had before.

'El Baile Aleman' includes takes on Kraftwerk classics like "Showroom Dummies", "Trans Europe Express", "The Robots", "Autobahn" and "Tour de France" with the stark percussion and effects of the originals replaced by Latin rhythms. "I think that it's not just a covers album," Coconut explains. "It also unveils quite a lot about the original compositions and their significance. Kraftwerk songs contain a strong musical content even if freed from their electronic arrangements. And I don't think the band is as serious as people think they are."

More info at http://nacionalrecords.com/artists/senorcoconut/index.htmt

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