Home Read Classic Album Review: Nigo | Ape Sounds

Classic Album Review: Nigo | Ape Sounds

The Japanese designer recruits a VIP cast for his Planet of the Apes-themed set.

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This album came out back in 2001. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Wow. A Japanese musical artist obsessed with Planet of the Apes. Now there’s something you only see, well, about every other day.

Still, as sick as you may be of the whole retro-hip Ape trend, you have to cut Nigo a break. As a clothing designer, he’s been using everyone’s favourite pop-culture primates in his Bathing Ape gear since 1993. Which means that whether you credit or blame him for the whole trend, he has as much right as anybody to monkey with the icons. Fittingly, he seems to approach his debut disc’s 10 tracks more as a designer than a musician, laying down a drumbeat, creating an aesthetic and then leaving others to do the detail work of writing music and performing songs. Like a smart businessman, he puts the job in capable hands: Beastie Boys keyboardist Money Mark contributes the Beatlesque A Simple Song and the sardonically titled A Very Urgent Dub; Ben Lee offers a winning blend of bittersweet emotion and bouncy alt-pop in Free Diving; and Cornelius (the Japanese go-go god who proves my earlier point) handles some production chores on these tracks, which amble from loose-limbed soul and Beckish hip-pop to garage-band spy-rock. Then there’s March of the Generals, the 12,245th song to feature samples from Planet of the Apes. Ah well, even a great designer has a knockoff every now and then.