Los Amigos Invisibles Envision First Venezuelan Spaceship

Flying "Venezuelan bagel" on cover of upcoming album reflects band's ironic theme.

Venezuelan style shredders Los Amigos Invisibles have finished recording their second album, scheduled for release on Luaka Bop this summer.

The title, Arepa 3001: The First Venezuelan Spaceship, reflects the material's mixture of social commentary, satire and science fiction, all woven around a theme that guitarist/songwriter José Luis Pardo admits is equally ambitious and absurd.

"We're trying to make a soundtrack of a Venezuelan space project for 3001," Pardo said. "It's funny because Venezuela will never put together a space project. Venezuelans have always tried to be like Americans or Europeans, but we will never launch a rocket, so it's kind of a joke."

Rather than trade their loosey-goosey Latin-lounge style for whatever sound they think would be topping the charts at the dawn of the next millennium, Los Amigos tweaked details of their music to suggest the future, with spacey bass processing and more looping effects than previously.

"We're trying not to sound as retro as before," Pardo said. "On the last record [The New Sound of the Venezuelan Gozadera], we tried to play old-school funk, old-school cha-cha, that kind of thing. We're the same band now, but we try to sound more like the future. Plus we have all these interludes to make you feel like you are in a space suit."

Aware of the difficulties involved in scoring an album set a thousand years in the future, the band is considering changing the title year from 3001 to 2010. The cover art will reflect the album's concept by picturing a flying arepa, described by Pardo as a "Venezuelan corn bagel." The group tried to imagine how Venezuela would assemble a spaceship without either American or European aeronautic know-how. "It would be a mess, you know?" he said. "This giant piece of food, flying through space."

Arepa 3001 was produced by former Consolidated drummer Bruce Speir. Mixing will begin in April, most likely at Toast Studios in San Francisco.