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Radio Review

New Host of 'Eclectic' Moves Playlist Slightly Toward Rock

April 25, 1998|STEVE HOCHMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There's a new accent to "Morning Becomes Eclectic," the influential music program on KCRW-FM (89.9), and not just the English inflections of host Nic Harcourt, who's just completed his first week after coming from Woodstock, N.Y., to replace Chris Douridas.

The music, too, has a slightly, though just slightly, different accent--a little more of a rock edge than the ultra-cool textures favored by Douridas in recent years, a little more playful in the mix of past, present and on-the-horizon artists.

Choosing '80s English post-punk band the Jam's "Start" as his inaugural cut, Harcourt right off the bat showed an affection for Beatles-esque pop, following it with Richie Havens' version of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun." From that aesthetic hub, he blended electronic-pop acts that are KCRW's current core (Massive Attack) with global fusioneers (Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles, Anglo-Egyptian singer Natacha Atlas) and longtime adult alternative staples (Emmylou Harris).

Though it was consistent with his pledge not to shake the order upon arrival, it would have been nice to hear some individual stamp, some indication of why he was hired over such more-than-qualified in-house candidates as Liza Richardson, Tricia Halloran and Gary Calamar.

Where interviews were always Douridas' biggest weakness, Harcourt's live in-studio sessions with such acts as God Lives Underwater and Holly Cole were lively and easy-flowing. Can he stay that unaffected-sounding in this hot seat? Stay tuned.

* "Morning Becomes Eclectic" airs 9 a.m.-noon weekdays on KCRW-FM (89.9).

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