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Senor Coconut Y Su Conjunto

Emperor Norton

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You know how they say that whenever you have a brainstorm, nine other people around the world are having the same one at the same time? Well, no one else had this one: Become a zany pretend-salsa ensemble and rework classic Kraftwerk in various Latin styles. Kraftwerk is a prime target for musical yocksters, second only to ABBA. The greatest tribute to/sendup of the German electro-droids’ cold-blooded sound was the Balanescu Quartet’s Possessed, in which the chamber orchestra sawed away manfully at all those keyboard doodlings and the melody becomes metallic shreds of violin. The trouble with Senor Coconut and his south-of-the-border stylings is that he’s about as Latin as Lou Bega. A German electro-head himself, Coconut (aka Uwe Schmidt) takes nine of Kraftwerk’s chilliest, replaces the digital beat-keeping with, um, other digitals, and reshuffles the rhythm to reflect each song’s style, efficiently noted on the jewel box as “cumbia,” “merengue,” or “cha-cha-cha.” It’s all rather slow and unfiery, not good enough to be bad, not fun enough to be kitsch. —Arion Berger