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CD Review: Mexican Institute of Sound's Soy Sauce 

The Deal: MIS in actuality is Camilo Lara, who started out as a knob twirler but is now readily acknowledged as a showman, producer and a creative, versatile musical force welding Mexican rhythms to a progressive mix of North American beats and electronica, recombinant with rootsy cumbias, boleros and even mariachi. Anything in fact, from lounge core to beatbox to funk. Sometimes, the crazy, jarring conga rhythms even remind you of the Requiem For a Dream soundtrack.

The Good: Music with wit, style, grace and imagination is always welcome but Lara's myriad musical references are mind-boggling and make for a highly entertaining and rewarding listening experience.

The Bad: After hearing the first cut "Cumbia," I was disappointed that the entire CD wasn't full of cumbias like that one. However, the intrepid listener gets over that issue soon enough as so much else is going on. Variety abounds as tunes like "White Stripes" show off hip-hop influences while two disparate versions of "Alocatel" even highlight references to Papa Ooh Mau Mau, as delightful as it is ridiculous. Influences abound from the Beastie Boys to The Beatles, all in the confines of Mexican trad and progressive. Think Café Tacuba with more drugs.

The Verdict: Expand your mind and get the disc. For less-jaded listeners, get ready for a musical trip and adventure from cumbias to polka to punk; or as Lara describes it, "Hip hop with a Mexican vibe."

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