Bajofondo are a collective of musicians and producers whose avowed objective is to blend tango and electronica, and in so doing, illuminate the music of Argentina and Uruguay for a worldwide audience.
An octet with added six-piece string section, the group includes both a bandoneon player and someone whose primary responsibility is VJ; the group is obviously quite unlike most of what listeners will hear on a major label.
Mixing traditional and contemporary is a method well suited to crossover -- it practically doubles your audience while often drawing in those who like the idea much more than the actual sound of traditional forms -- but it's certainly not an easy task to attempt.
In effect, Bajofondo have to build their songs by use of sampling and programmed beats without sacrificing the vibrancy and expression of their acoustic instruments.
The risk, of course, is whether music fans would be willing to put up with the one while enjoying the other.
Mar Dulce has to be counted as a success, certainly because the combined effect of songwriting, performance, and production sounds of a piece, with few seams showing.
Juan Campodónico's programming isn't quite as groove-based as it would need to be to appeal to hardcore electronica fans, but he's indeed talented, and he succeeds more than most artists who dabble in the form.
Meanwhile, Luciano Superveille appears to be the group's resident phenom, handling both the spirited piano playing and the turntables (although you won't hear much scratching on this record).
Also, the group apparently inspired enough confidence to earn star features from Elvis Costello and Nelly Furtado as well as tango/milonga or Latin pop stars including Gustavo Cerati, Lágrima Ríos, and on a bonus track available on some editions, Julieta Venegas.