From São Paulo to LA yo

February 20, 2009

From New York to the Bay yo
São Paulo to LA yo
Nobody move until we say so
They wanna know who got that N.A.S.A. music

The debut album of Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon collaboration N.A.S.A. (North America/South America) dropped on Tuesday. The guestlist includes such names as Kanye West, M.I.A., Ghostface Killah, Karen O, Spank Rock, Tom Waits, and even the ghost of ODB. Seu Jorge, the Brazilian darling who recorded Portuguese covers of David Bowie for The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions, makes an appearance, too. Check out “Gifted,” one of the standout tracks:

N.A.S.A.’s goal in all of this is to create, out of multiple and sundry genres, music that can unite both people and continents. A huge influence on the album is baile funk (bye-lee foon-key), otherwise known as simply funk, the Brazilian equivalent of Southern crunk music—ground-shaking booty bass straight out of Rio. I myself have been getting into the album pretty earnestly; I feel like they’re taking what I like best about Brazilian music and leaving out all the shitty parts, i.e. the compositions of entire songs based on the repetition of one word at accelerating speeds (see “Creu” [NSFW]. Okay, this is actually pagode, but whatever. I can’t stand the stuff).

Incidentally, I feel like all I’m listening to nowadays are mash-ups and remixes and things with that sort of quality. I’ve enjoyed The Hood Internet’s The Mixtape Vol. 3 (Estelle vs. The Ting Tings! MF Doom vs. Ladytron!) and the J- and K-pop mixes presented by Masa, another brasileiro, which satisfy my occasional craving for sugary pop tunes. [Norwegian Recycling is still my favorite artist in the mash-up department, though.]

Though I’ve never been there, São Paulo has been figuring into my life a lot as of late. In fact, for my remote sensing class—of which the Thomas Gillespie mentioned in this article is professor—I’m analyzing tree species richness in the forest surrounding the city. It’s actually one of the last remaining fragments of the Atlantic coastal forest, an endangered ecosystem that’s been reduced to less than 10% of its original coverage. I nabbed some shots of what I’m doing, just because the images are so pretty!

The following are all Landsat ETM+ images. Here is São Paulo as seen in the visible and infrared spectrums (in the latter, redness indicates areas of biomass and productivity):

Sao Paulo (visible)

Sao Paulo (infrared)

And here’s a closeup of the forest directly north of the city, as viewed firstly in a configuration putting even more emphasis on the vegetation (bright red), and secondly in an NDVI transformation. NDVI stands for Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and correlates to species richness; the reddest parts have the widest variety of species (this you can’t see with the naked eye!).

Sao Paulo detail (red)

Sao Paulo detail (NDVI)

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