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Album review: N.A.S.A.'s 'The Spirit of Apollo'

February 15, 2009 |  3:26 pm

Apollo_nasa_240 N.A.S.A. stands for North America, South America, according to the liner notes of the debut album from DJ Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon. It's also described as  "a cooperative effort with our counterparts all over the world... breaking boundaries and borders set for us by society."

A noble quest to be sure, but the "The Spirit of Apollo" is flawed on a few counts. They've gathered a dazzling roster of guest stars, including David Byrne, Chuck D, RZA, Karen O, Tom Waits, M.I.A., Kanye West and Lykke Li, but the way they've used them isn't inventive enough. And the representation in this sort of "We  Are the World" for hipsters includes only a few from South America. They use plenty of Brazilian funk samples but without the impact of the all-star cast.

The DJs know how to pack a dance floor. "Gifted" and "Wachadoin?" are standouts, but N.A.S.A.'s mood is always set to party, and even when they get political, it's not very original. Next time, N.A.S.A. should forgo some of the crate-digging for more mind-digging.

-- Margaret Wappler

"The Spirit of Apollo"
Two and a half stars