There are some records that are meant for rocking out with all the windows down as you go flying down the highway, and others that are perfect background music for a chill, low-key evening with friends. Natalia Clavier’s Nectar is definitely in the latter category, and in a good way. In her solo debut, the native Argentinean infuses trip hop and lounge music with a distinctly Latina flavor to create the perfect soundtrack for a summer dinner party or margaritas-and-mojitos cocktail gathering.
Trip hop isn't often known for variation, and a number of the songs on Nectar are pretty similar in sound and feel. Many of the tracks, which were produced by Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation, feature a similar laid back groove and ethereal vocals, and it’s difficult to tell one from the other on the first few listens. Still, the album includes enough twists and variations to keep it from becoming a wall of monotonous (if lovely) sound. “Azul” brings in echoes of the tango of Clavier’s homeland, and “Confusión” and “Mi mentira” trade in a little of the electronics for a return to “real” instruments like piano and guitar.
The lyrics on Nectar are sung (and printed) in Spanish, and since I don’t speak or read the language (and couldn’t find any translations), I can’t really comment on them. Despite the language barrier, however, Clavier’s voice creates a vivid emotional tone for each song - whether dancing over the beats of the more “chill” tracks or rising with passion on the classic Argentinean folk song “Tue que peudes vuélvete.” The vocals combine with the groove to create a cool, sensual record that’s perfect for easing into the heat of summer.