Sunday, January 25, 2009
N.A.S.A.-some great sounds and cool vids
Supergroups are not a new phenomenon in music by any means. All through the years there have been some big names creating new groups that caught the imagination of music fans. The Travelling Wilburys, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Blind Faith and even the Power Station can all claim varying degrees of success, but in hip-hop music there have been some notable creations too.
It's inevitable really that a music genre which generally finds a particular artist collaborating with loads of it's peers on many big records leads to some groups developing out of that. In many ways though, some of the best examples of these groups have come from the classic sound-system background of reggae and soul, such massive influences on hip-hop. Soul 11 Soul, Coldcut, Massive Attack and more recently the Gorillaz have taken this approach and created some great music out of it. The music delivers a variety not possible with a regular group and though touring can become difficult, there are always ways around it.
Massive Attack has launched solo careers for everyone from Tricky to Shara Nelson, and all these years later they still operate under the structure of a Sound-System. The Gorillaz were interesting too and used many different vocalists, while another well known project featuring Gorillaz masterminds Damon Albarn and Danger-mouse was the Good, the Bad and the Queen. The likes of the Gravediggaz also did their thing, though ironically they formed as another off-shoot of arguably the bets super-group of them all in hip-hop; the Wu Tang Clan.
In 2009 we are set to hear loads more from a similar project to the Gorillaz being put together by New Yorker Sam Siegal and his Brazilian pal Ze Gonzales. I recieved some promos of their new material before Christmas and was well impressed to find loads of my favourite artists appearing on their different tunes. "Spirit of the Apollo" is as eclectic as you would expect from guests spots featuring the likes of Tom Waits, M.I.A., Santogold, David Byrne, Chuck D, Karen O, George Clinton and the Gorillaz favourite rapper Del tha Funkee Homosapien. The music is adventurous and held together with a distinct hip-hop aesthetic, the amazing thing being that it works as a cohesive record rather than one long stereotypical guest rap and take the guest-spot money and run vibe that waters down so many hip-hop and r&b albums these days.
I've been checking some of the videos too and just like the Gorillaz there seems to be a very tasteful visual approach to N.A.S.A. They really have assembled an incredible who's who of hip-hop alongside the big rock names and Fat Lip, Cee-Lo, Bushwick Bill, Method Man and Ghostface are joined by DJ's Z Trip, Q Bert, Swamp and many more. Overall, you could be cynical and say it is almost like a group put together by bloggers who are assembling a who's who of fashionable artists, but as with the best of these projects they cleverly get a few artists who are outside of the mainstream but still very relevant (Del, Bushwick Bill, Pharcyde etc) Go and check it for yourself and see what you think, this music fan is won over anyway. I've a feeling we are gonna be hearing plenty from these guys in 2009, as it is music with a superb variety and intelligent outlook, that crucially works on the dancefloors aswell!
also check a tune they did called "whachadoin"on my new mix
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- I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays http://www.pavilioncork.com also you can catch me at http://djstevieg.podomatic.com