Über Senor Coconut
While electronic music's culture of sampling takes "Is it live, or is it Memorex?" as its founding principle, Uwe Schmidt's Senor Coconut project puts an unprecedented multicultural spin on ideas of authenticity and appropriation. In the mid-'90s, having established a rep as an electronic maverick via projects like Atom Heart and Lassigue Bendthaus, Schmidt emigrated from his native Germany to Santiago, Chile, where he found inspiration in Latin American styles like salsa and cumbia. His first project, El Baile Aleman, interpreted Kraftwerk's coldly funky grooves as supple, sampladelic samba, and, aided by vocalists like Argenis Brito and Jorge Gonzalez, he followed up with similarly spicy covers of Sade, Michael Jackson and the Doors. In 2006, working with a full band, he released Yellow Fever, a tribute to Japan's answer to Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra. Along with Y.M.O. members Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono, a distinguished crew -- Towa Tei, Mouse on Mars, Burnt Friedman -- rounded out the collaboration.