December 8, 2005
Various artists, KCRW’s Sounds Eclectico
Nacional Records, 2005
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.