San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Thursday, April 9, 2009

8 Days 'til Coachella - NASA

I started listening to The Spirit of Apollo, which I think is this group's latest effort, and I was thinking, OK, sorta hip-hop, I can feel it coming, even though the first song, Intro, is purposefully spacey and definitely groovy.

The second track, The People Tree, features some decent grooves, beats and scratching, along with some MC'ing that's not too annoying. And what's this? That familiar voice... could it be... David Byrne?!

Reading the album's list of collaborators, you'd have trouble pegging the genre. Sure, overall it's hip hop, but only if you have to pigeonhole it into a category. Some of this stuff sounds like good downtempo with forgivable rapping, but everything I checked out is just full-on head-bopping goodness.

You may have heard Money, which also features David Byrne, Chuck D (Public Enemy), Ras Congo (possibly from London or NYC), Brazilian artist Seu Jorge, and DJ Z-Trip. That many cooks in the kitchen can easily spoil a track, but in this case, it's really something good. You're probably already sick of hearing it, it's so good.

Other contributors include hip-hop dudes Del The Funkee Homosapien, DJ Qbert, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Ol' Dirty Bastard (I thought he was dead?), Kool Keith, genius and "gay fish" Kanye West, as well as George Clinton, and TOM WAITS?!?!

The last track on the album bills itself as a 15+ minute opus called N.A.S.A. Anthem. The first four minutes sounds like it could have easily been done thirty years ago... like there are tons of samples in there, but I can't put my finger on any one of them. Then there's about six minutes of silence and the annoying 1990's "bonus track" thing shows up. Let me tell you, this one would have been a lot better off without the gimmick and without the "bonus" song. It feels really tacked on, like a compromise between two very different forces driving this group.

Overall, it's more than the sum of its parts, but after hearing this last bit, I'm really nervous that their whole live show will be standard MC'ing over standard DJ'ing.

The jury will render its decision next Friday night.

1 comment:

The Poison Dwarf said...

Ras Congo is from London. Raised in Jamaica.

And this was one of ODB's last recording sessions before he died.