Aterciopelados | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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ATERCIOPELADOS

On their forthcoming album, Gozo poderoso ("Powerful Joy"), Colombia's Aterciopelados have moved away from the heavy-lidded trip-hop of 1999's terrific Caribe Atomico and toward a tropically tinged lounge pop--the rhythms are less fierce, and the soundscape is more subdued, devoid of much of the previous album's spectral sampladelia. The one constant in the mix is the dynamic voice of Andrea Echeverri, who updates the passion of traditional Latin American bolero singing with a glossy international pop sensibility. While countless purveyors of both trip-hop and neolounge, like Mono or Thievery Corporation, rely heavily on atmospherics, Echeverri and her longtime collaborator, bassist Hector Buitrago, enlist the sounds in the service of actual songs. Echeverri is an arrestingly precise singer who can convey worlds of emotion in the slightest nuance--like the sanguine torpor caused by a destructive lover in the groove-heavy "Rompecabezas" or the almost New Agey yearning for internal calm expressed over shuffling dancehall beats in "Esmeralda." Latin and Caribbean elements flavor the music, from the hypnotic electro-son of "El album" to the Santeria-esque call and response of "Fantasia" (in which Echeverri daydreams about the omnipotent U.S. falling like Rome), but Aterciopelados have developed a sound that's not limited by its roots. They're the first act on BMG's sizable Latin American roster to get marketed in the U.S. through Arista--a smart move, because aside from the language barrier, this is music whose appeal could be near universal. Tuesday, April 24, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160.

PETER MARGASAK

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