Hippo Manchester
December 8, 2005

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Various artists, KCRW’s Sounds Eclectico

Nacional Records, 2005

B

Nic Harcourt is the mix-tape king.

Host of KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” (a brilliant radio show from Santa Monica, Calif., that thanks to the Internet, we can all listen to), Harcourt has a talent for finding cool new music of all flavors and introducing unique artists.

What he’s done for the indie/alternative/emo/lounge-pop crowd he now does for a variety of Latin-flavored artists on Sounds Eclectico. From the delicate guitar of Jorge Drexler in “El Pianista del Gueto de Varsovia” to the energetic lounge of Thievery Corporation’s “Shadows of Ourselves” to Los Lobos’ vaguely norteno-ish “Carabino 30-30” to Ozomatli’s Latino-positive rap in “Saturday Night,” the CD presents a refreshing survey of Latin genres. Many of them recordings of live performances, these tracks have an energy and strength familiar to Harcourt’s listeners but unusual elsewhere. Manu Chao’s “Clandestino” is relatively spare — guitar, maracas, singers — but has surprising depth nonetheless. What’s best about these songs is that they show the range of Spanish-language and Latin American music. Harcourt’s anti-Ricky Mart mix is an entertaining collection of songs for both a genre novice and a regular listener of Latin music. 

— Amy Diaz