Astronauts of Antiquity
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Astronauts of Antiquity

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Alternative EDM


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Astronauts of Antiquity
Rocket Science

Astronauts of Antiquity - Rocket Science for Dummies

"Cool" is an underrated concept in modern music, where seemingly every other indie band is lining up to replace the chic with the goofy. Thankfully, some out there are still carrying the dapper torch - the experimentally jazzy Astronauts of Antiquity, for example, whose sophomore release Rocket Science is like some lost hybrid collaboration of Hooverphonic, The Bird and the Bee, and Everything but the Girl.

As their ironic name might imply, the Astronauts are a heady mix of eclectic urban genres and ultra-cool lounge swagger. Armed with a healthy dose of funk, polished production, and a whole hell of a lot of handclaps, Rocket Science succeeds in being both innovative and accessible, allowing eager listeners to catch an aural glimpse of the Astronauts' fast-paced, rhythmic world.

Of course, it helps to have a vocalist as dynamic and cocky as India, who, fortunately, often comes across as a self-indulgent, crooning jazz songstress rather than some pop star wannabe. Clearly, the foundation of the Astronauts' aerodynamic package is built around her teasing persona - a less-prickly version of Garbage's Shirley Manson, for example. The results are smooth and fearless: songs waste no riff or transition in their glide, compacted into nothing short of cafe-infused pop brilliance that swirls and twists around India's advisory muse.

Perhaps the real key to Rocket Science's success is the fact that it maintains an authentic, jazzy pulse throughout, no matter how glossy the production gets. Indeed, tracks like "Everywhere" pulse with a clubbish, urban rain, owing nothing to standard radio fare, while "Strangest Places" brims with a bebop soul that outstrips any coffee house-bred singer/songwriter ballad. The album thus prevails because it is both familiar and yet exotic, melding the habits and techniques of lesser-known musical styles with a tried-and-true sensibility. Such is the method of "Beautiful Fate," which plops alternative guitar, electronica flourish, and rhythmic euphoria into a gigantic blender and goes to town on the highest setting. Whereas some other band would get unrecognizable glop, the Astronauts get a tasty shake.

In the end, Rocket Science is alluring because of its unending strive towards slick perfection, and in turn, listeners will recognize the effort and self-discipline that emanates from Astronauts of Antiquity's sonic offerings. Then again, perhaps it's not that complicated - perhaps the album is simply the musical equivalent of an unbridled car race, too damn fun to peel away from despite its mindless entertainment. Yet that, too, is a misnomer, as Rocket Science possesses an ample brain to go along with its considerable heart.

Kevin Liedel, Sr. Staff
June 11, 2009
For Questions or Comments On This Review Send An Email To - Kevin Liedel, Sr. Staff

"AoA's Brilliant Evolution"

I make no attempt to hide my disdain for what passes for R&B these days. I hold Usher, R. Kelly, Rhianna, and their ilk in nothing but the highest contempt.

That's why it's so refreshing and exciting when an artist comes on the scene with something truly interesting in the genre. Much like Nikka Costa's latest (review here) Astronauts Of Antiquity's new album Rocket Science for Dummies provides us with that breath of fresh air.

Comprised of singer India and guitarist B. Rhyan, Astronauts Of Antiquity have channel their R&B, jazz, and soul influences through a modern electronic lens. The result is a funky re-envisioning of a genre.

The album opens with it's most rock track, "Everywhere", which does well as a showcase for India's sultry vocals. Her voice is probably at it's best on "Miss Caroline", a song sung with an obvious influence of '50's soul divas.

Brazilian and South American influences play heavily on several tracks. "Sweet-Tooth" is an irresistible hip-shaker, while "Sup A Soul" could almost launch its own Brazilian Trip Hop style.

The Astronauts pay homage to classic R&B on "Emo Healing" (it has nothing to do with cutting yourself). The song is delivered with a slight gospel flair on top of a modern soundtrack. Call it Marvin Gaye meets Portishead in a smokey lounge.

"Soup Du Jour" features as guest appearance by C. Knowledge of the smooth hip hop group Digable Planets.

Rocket Science for Dummies is a showcase for a group that respect the giants of their genre while tweaking it enough to make it feel at home in the 21st century. Astronauts Of Antiquity are the way R&B should evolve.

Genre: Electronic, R & B
Sounds Like: Lamb, Zero 7
Website: /
Buy album: Shop

- Snob's Music

"AoA Refines and Retools"

There's something comfortable (and familiar) about this band, Astronauts of Antiquity, their feet ensconced in smooth sounds of jazz, electronica and pop soul. Their name is apropos, as students and explorers of classic jazz, funk and soul, taking it to new, familiar and danceable heights.

On Rocket Science for Dummies A.O.A. refines and retools the bravado and texture of music generated by the likes of Prince, Sade and The Carpenters. Blending those influences garners the excitement, vigor and cool repose found on Rocket Science. Lead singer India is a singer who coos with presence and refinement. She's Lady Kier of Dee-Lite, Erykah Badhu and Diana Krall with a huskier, come-hither, grasp of things. Her sound is more serene and topical than it is soul searching, but it makes no difference since the songs feel as if designed to caress the spirit, not take it apart.

Rocket Science opens with 'Everywhere', a song heavy on the dance floor beats and floating swagger. Midway through the album things begin to cool down, finding a natural groove in the jazz laced and soul-funk restraint of 'Emo Healing' and 'Miss Caroline', India works the material like a seventies disco singer, timeless and sassy. She's like a female Prince - scorching, but able to lay down in the groove, changing her delivery to crystalline and smooth. In the end the beat-heavy jazz album is endearingly sexy, carrying a sultry vibe without stepping in the listener's face.

Sonically, it moves like a night of prowling, at first between strangers but capitulating to the mood of lovers in need of one another's heat. Rocket Science is sexually charged but doesn't wear a label to state it. Never obvious, it's the music that carries this feeling. The sexual hum, and winking, in the background makes Rocket Science all the more engaging. The songs burn and slither without resorting to cheap gimmicks and obvious, prurient endeavors.

Whereas Jamiroquai tends to go over overtly into dance and disco coloring, A.O.A. keep things cool, smoky and snug. Think Dee-Lite slowed down and introspective, or Eymarel without jazz flavoring and very, very chill. Rocket Science is especially optimistic even when it doesn't have to be. On 'Breakthrough' India sings in soaring, passionate vocals, "The universe is going to surprise you / I got nothing but faith." A.O.A. takes dance music to very different level.

Brian Tucker
Bootleg Magazine
- Bootleg Magazine

"Rocket Science for Dummies Review"

The Astronauts Of Antiquity offer up a rare mix of dub, trance, pop, soul and jazz on their latest release, Rocket Science For Dummies. The musical and spiritual marriage of India and B. Rhyan has created a blending of sounds and style that are not matched elsewhere. From their original base in Chapel Hill, NC to their current Nyack, NY home, The Astronauts Of Antiquity have spread their musical joy all over the world. On Rocket Science For Dummies they take things to the next level.

Rocket Science For Dummies opens with Everywhere, a very Euro sounding dance tune that should be very commercially viable. India has a gorgeous voice that just floats and slides across the music like a bow on well-tuned violin. This is the sort of song that could make real impact for Astronauts Of Antiquity with the right push or promotion. Strangest Places takes on more of a jazz feel. The music is fairly low key, allowing India's vocals to carry the song. Sup A Soul takes a more aggressive stance with an urgent bass line running counterpoint to a melancholy vocal line. The song resolves into a chorus that's full of electronic rhythms and effects. It's actually quite an interesting listen

Rocket Science is a more straightforward rock/electro hybrid with an urban feel to it. While this is not my personal favorite song on the disc, it does serve to highlight to the almost chameleon nature of vocalist India, who seems able to sing almost any style and do it well. Notable also is Beautiful Fate, a powerfully positive message built on a lovely melody and a unique arrangement. Other highlights include the funky Breakthrough and Love Is All Around.

Rocket Science For Dummies runs the gamut through R&B, jazz, electro, rock and all points in between. There are even some ambient drum & bass leanings here (Love Is A Mantra). This is an album that's going to appeal to a lot of people, although it will be the sort where a lot of people like a few tracks (differing on musical tastes). Open minded listeners will love this disc for its supple ability to change speeds and direction without notice and make it all sound like it fits together. Astronauts Of Antiquity might just break out with Rocket Science For Dummies. One way or another they're here to stay.

- Wildy's World


two streaming tracks "Supa Soul", "Strangest Places" @ CMJ (contact Johhny Chiba)
5 tracks charted on over 70 college and speciality radio stations " Everywhere", "Supa Soul", "Emotional Healing", "Beautiful Fate", "Soup du Jour"(with Doodle Bug from Digable Planets) Also charted in the top 200 of the RIYL charts in Feb/March of '09
Releases: "AoA.1" - '05, "Rocket Science for Dummies" - Feb. '09
2 Vinyl: EP's "Love Divine", "Same Ground" released on Liquid Sound Lounge '02
both played in clubs worldwide.




Marrying the vibey, seductively ethereal textures of lounge, dub and trance with the timeless verities of great pop and rock songwriting, Astronauts of Antiquity have bridged various musical worlds to create a realm all their own. And while their journey has taken them around the globe, on their new album, Rocket Science For Dummies, they have brought it all back home, delivering an album that is seamless and mesmerizing, reflecting a unified expression of their musical vision.

Their music has been called everything from “urban-electro-organica,” to a “jazzy, neo-soulful, electronic exploration,” but more than any genre, what defines Astronauts of Antiquity is the musical and life partnership of India on vocals and B. Rhyan on guitars. The two first ran into each other – literally – at the airport, while India was rushing to make a flight. Three years later, the two once again encountered at one of India’s performances in Milwaukee. Backstage after her show, B. Rhyan was instantly captivated by India and sensed something more than simply a kindred spirit – he saw the possibility of a music and soul partner. (Only years later did the two recall their original brush with fate, which made their meeting feel even more like destiny.)

Originally an alternative rock act, India, and B. Rhyan birthed what would become Astronauts of Antiquity at of all places, a festival they were playing in Poland. India recalls, “We were an alt/rock band, but the last song we did was a dub influenced song, and the people went crazy. I think we were all like, ‘Holy Shit, we’re on to something here!’” Stints in Los Angeles, Detroit (where they won the Motor City Music Awards for best band, best female vocalist and best songwriters), New York, Dublin, London and Chapel Hill followed (and even a pilgrimage to India) as the band grew in stature and skill.

They earned laudatory reviews in such publications as Time Out London, who wrote, “Astronauts of Antiquity superbly deliver exquisite vocals and compelling grooves that always rock the house.” The Spectator in Raleigh, NC who opined, “Astronauts of Antiquity are a very savvy pop band in disguise. They offer up the ancient on a modern platter of undeniable tunes, catchy yet subtle like the muse.” URB from London chimed “AOA is transcendent, yet funky….open your mind, you won’t be disappointed!”

After releasing their debut album, AOA 1 in 2005, and building a following in the Chapel Hill, NC area, where they played as a seven piece, earning comparisons to such acts as Thievery Corporation, Zero 7, Bebel Gilberto and Radiohead, India and B. Rhyan headed back to the New York City area, settling in the bucolic town of Nyack, NY. Beginning work on a new album, B. Rhyan gave AOA keyboardist Taylor Ryan an opportunity to try his hand at production. He recalls, “Taylor gave me a vision of a song – and it was so detailed, it was like a movie. India and I were touched by his attention to detail. And his musicality is so varied and deep that it’s complemented our own eclecticism perfectly.”

Eclecticism conveys a part of what Rocket Science For Dummies is. But it’s more than that – it’s the rarely successful marriage between club and lounge music – dub, trance, electronica, jazzy neo-soul – and great, unforgettable pop songwriting. You can hear it from the first notes of the album opener, “Everywhere,” with it’s luscious, loungy vibe and India’s powerful yet subtle vocals enveloping the track. It’s present in “Beautiful Fate,” where India’s smoky, seductive vocals mingle with emotionally affecting lyrics and a hypnotic melody and rhythm track that brings to mind Kid A-era Radiohead.

“Miss Caroline” is one of those perfect ballads that encapsulate AoA so definitively. An ode to the beauty of their former home in North Carolina, it serves as both a tribute and a love letter, with India sounding like the coolest jazz singer on the planet. Add B. Rhyan’s sublime guitar flourishes and a brilliant arrangement, it is nothing less than three plus minutes of musical nirvana. Again, it’s all about the quality of the songs, something that India and B. Rhyan were attuned to during the songwriting process. As B. Rhyan relates, “We’ve listened to a lot of things like Buddha Bar, and we love the vibe, but that music can get bland after a while. We wanted to have that vibe, but have it be emotive, where the song becomes most prominent.”

That goal is something that Astronauts of Antiquity have accomplished beautifully on Rocket Science For Dummies. And new album in tow, they are planning big things around the album, including a possible tour with Digable Planets (whose group member C-Knowledge appears on “Soup de Jour”), gigs in the New York City area, and a full-scale DIY campaign that befits this uniquely gifted band that marries song and vibe like very few do.