N.A.S.A., The Spirit of Apollo


The name's more earthbound than you think: the initials represent the origins of North American producer Squeak E Clean and South America's DJ Zegon. The pair have taken six years to compile the ultimate celebrity guest list, featuring 40-odd big names from George Clinton to MIA to most of the Wu-Tang Clan. Presumably it helped that Squeak, aka Sam Spiegel, is the brother of film-maker Spike Jonze. Here the stars rollercoaster over funk, rap, cartoon voices and moon-landing broadcasts. David Byrne brings the woozy feel of Talking Heads' Houses in Motion to People Tree, and finds an unlikely bedfellow in Chuck D on the credit-crunch-driven Money. The pairing of Kool Keith and Tom Waits is similarly inspired, and Gifted (featuring Kanye West and Santogold) is fabulous - bleep music from space. But the album is occasionally brought to earth by mediocre hip-hop, suggesting the project would have been better with a smaller, more focused cast.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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