Boomkat Product Review:
Necessary first, remastered reissue of 1991’s ‘Pagan Tango’, depicting synth-pop pioneers Chris & Cosey stepping into a new decade with uncanny, atavistic traces of bygone exotica and ritual musicks.
‘Pagan Tango’ was originally presented ten years after C&C’s legendary debut ‘Heartbeat’, a decade in which they deployed no fewer than 10 albums, and acted as spirit-guides for the post-industrial era’s phase shift to synth-pop and new wave. In title and function ‘Pagan Tango’ echoes an occult thrust that underlined their music since the beginning and would parallel and dovetail themes of PTV, a rising new age consciousness, and neo-folk. It features Chris Carter continuing to refine his drum programming to whirring, intricate latin trills and triplets best for dancing (and which pissed on anything coming from Gen’s apocryphal club projects, for example), and comparable with prevailing energies of body music, latin freestyle electro, Washington Go-Go and new jack swing, as much as the pagan tango of the record’s title.
Of course, Chris’ rhythms would be half as impactful without Cosey’s sensual vox and cornet, found here like a sleek, gynoid cyberpunk presence mixed beautifully clear and wide across their retro-futurist projections. From the off they move perpendicular to trends, with ‘Ecstasy’ clearly referencing the ’91 drug du jour, but quite unlike its conventions, before the album sashays between echoes of ‘Exotica’ in ’Synaesthesia’, to the taut EBM of ‘Take Control’ or ‘Sin’ and its kinky title tune, via sultrier downstrokes in ‘Face to Face’, the new jack swanger ‘Feel to Me’, and Washington funk of ‘Go-Go Latino’, with the pair’s energies and sound design most hallucinatory in ‘Sacred Silence’.