N.A.S.A. (North America South America) just released their debut album called The Spirit of Apollo. Before I relay my thoughts on this album, I want you to read the list of artists that collaborated in the making of this LP which took six years in the making.
Warning: you might get jaw-locked. *Clears throat* Ahem. Ahem ahem:
David Byrne (Talking Heads), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, Z-Trip, E-40, DJ Swamp, RZA, Barbie and John Frusciante, KRS-One, Fatlip & Slim Kid Tre (The Pharcyde), Karen O and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s), Ol’ Dirty Bastard WAIT WHAT?! Yes ODB & Method Man & Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang Clan), Tom Waits, Kool Keith, Kanye West, Santigold, Lykke Li, Amanda Blank, Sizzla, Lovefoxxx (CSS), George Clinton (Parliament), Chali 2na (Jurassic 5), Kool Kojak, DJ Babao, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, DJ Qbert, The Cool Kids, Scarface, and DJ AM.
This post is long overdue. It’s been sitting in my drafts for a significant amount of time. To be honest, I made up a draft before I even listened to the record because of the high value collabos and my consequent sky rocketed expectation of how great this LP was going to be. I mean come on, you were thinking it too! Right?! Right?! Either way, I made an assumption. How does the adage go? Don’t assume. It makes an ass of you and me. Time and time again…when will I ever learn?!?!? But I’ll get back to this after I tell you what these dudes are all about.
The North America fraction of N.A.S.A. is Sam Spiegel aka Squeak-E-Clean aka Spike Jonze lil’ bro aka producer of the Show Your Bones from the YYY’s. The South America half is Ze Gonzales born in Sao Paulo who fuses Brazilian funk and hip hop, creating his own unique musical niche which is gaining ground in his hometown. They met, became friends, started working and making music together. Their goal was to bring people together from all realms in creating unified music and art. The abundant assortment in the musician candy bowl certainly helped in making the hypothetical into the literal. Thus, N.A.S.A. and the end product of this project, The Spirit of Apollo was born.
Sounds like a fantastic project! How can one possibly go wrong with a track listing like this!? The amount of talent contained in this 17 track LP would be more than enough merit to warrant an assumption that this LP was going to be off. the. hook. Sadly, I’m mistaken because listening to this album for the first time, and grudgingly the second time, was a massive disappointment.
It feels as if this LP is trying too hard to project its boundlessness and attempts to alter musical genres as we know it. There is a definite baile funk underlying most of the tracks married with some Brazilian inspired soul samba and westernized hip hop beats and rhymes. This fusion is absolutely perfect when mixed right but Spirit of Apollo is just one big mess of wrong compromises. The tracks have witty and catchy lyrics yet poorly produced, unoriginal, and could-be-better backdrops and vice versa. Of course there are exceptions. Three of them in fact. Where the production infuses inspiring beats, rhythm, funk, hip hop which perfectly accompanies the artists collaborating on the track. I didn’t discover these tracks until I decided to give the N.A.S.A. break up another two chances. Other than that, this is one of the worst collabo albums evuur.
It’s such a shame because I think N.A.S.A.’s goal of bringing in musicians from all over the globe to produce a united front in music is fantastic but this North America South America hybridization of sound doesn’t demonstrate musical unity or originality other than the the physical track listing. I will give them this though, their cover art is pretty rad. Very nice indeed.
Buy the album if you want to hear more. If you have heard this album, what do you think?
They are going to be at C’hella but I just don’t know how their set will end up going or which artists will be able to show up to their set. From the above picture and other pictures I have found of their live shows, it looks like a N.A.S.A. version of a Flaming Lips show! No?! Jajaja!
I give N.A.S.A. – The Spirit of Apollo a 4.0 out of 10.
MP3: N.A.S.A. – Strange Enough Feat. Karen O’, Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Fatlip
MP3: N.A.S.A. – Gifted Feat. Kanye West, Santa Gold & Lykke Li
MP3: N.A.S.A. – Soul Samba Feat. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien & DJ Qbert