El Paso Trascendental del Vodevil a la Astracana

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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes

El Paso Trascendental del Vodevil a la Astracanada is a compilation box set by kings (or queens?) of Spanish glam electro pop Fangoria, the duo formed by Alaska and Nacho Canut back in 1990. The box presumably celebrates the band's 20th anniversary, running over more than three hours of Canut's electro concoctions and Alaska's Ice Lady persona. Should this be deemed excessive to all but most ardent fans? You bet, but this often fascinating collection has not been designed for continuous listening. Rather than a typical career overview, each one of its three CDs tells a different story. The first CD, Vodevil, contains 21 of the band's singles, arranged in chronological order, and it effectively constitutes a stand-alone greatest-hits package. The second CD, Astracanada, on the other hand, features 15 new recordings of songs made famous by Alaska and Canut's previous projects, such as Alaska y Dinarama and Alaska y los Pegamoides, which to some extent can be considered Fangoria's earlier incarnations. This is the most contentious part of the entire project. Many fans voiced their disagreement about what is generally considered an unnecessary disc, since the iconic status of the original versions cannot be beat, and there are plenty of Dinarama and Pegamoides compilations available, anyway. For those not familiar with the material, however, absolute gems of campiness such as "Funcionaria Asesina" and "Mi Novio Es un Zombi" are bound to excite curiosity. The third CD, Sainete, collects together rare tracks and singles the duo recorded for soundtracks, compilations, and such. Among these are a few killer collaborations with artists such as Los Panchos and Camilo Sesto -- the very type of artists Alaska and Canut made a career of by parodying them in a postmodern, ironic setting -- as well as "Jason y Tú," a needs-to-be-heard-to-be-believed love song for the Friday the 13th deranged murderer. Finally, the DVD includes 23 of Fangoria's video clips, including some singles that are not present on the first CD. El Paso Trascendental del Vodevil a la Astracanada also comes in an abridged digipack version that contains only the first two CDs, but both editions are graced with spectacularly gaudy cover art by Juan Gatti, famous for his work with Pedro Almodóvar -- who was as much a key of the famous Movida Madrileña of the 1980s as Alaska and Canut, sharing a similar passion for kitsch and melodrama.

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