Thursday, March 2, 2006

The Rough Guide to Urban Latino

Posted on Thu, Mar 2, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Rough Guide to Urban Latino
Label: World Music Network
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: Rough Guide to Urban Latino, The

The Latin music "explosion" has been years in the making, but it's only been recently that the momentum has shifted from occasional chart incursions toward a full-fledged presence on the pop-culture menu. What's most interesting about this process is that the music isn't being treated as some sort of foreign language exotica, but is instead being smoothly integrated into the very same sonic melting pot that inspired the sounds in the first place. In our ever-expanding world of cities, the sound of "urban" life is becoming more and more global, with influences accumulating at every port of call. The sound of Urban Latino is as diverse as the number of tracks on this CD: reggaeton, cumbia and hip-hop rumble along next to maniacal concoctions like Cuban ska, a samba/batacuda mash-up, revolutionary girl-power rap and Tijuana-crafted abstract electronica. The vibrant panoply of sounds is engrossing and enraging; you can't help but be fascinated by the wide variety of approaches these artists are taking, but you can't help but think that it's a little reductionist to find the youth-culture revolution of so many countries boiled down to one 15-track CD. (Compiler Chris Moss acknowledges this disc could have – and should have – been a box set; he's right.)

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