INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
The 405 JULY 26, 2019 - by Chase McMullen
BRIAN ENO AND CO. REVISIT A MASTERPIECE FOR THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE APOLLO LANDING
If you're a Brian Eno fan, you likely know the story. Originally conceived and recorded as a companion for Al Reinert's For All Mankind, Apollo, rightfully (and thankfully) grew to have a life of its own as the ambient master's ninth solo LP.
It wasn't always meant to be. Had the documentary chronicling the moon landing landed (no pun intended) as planned, Eno's work likely would have simply remained a soundtrack. Yet, initially, the film was received with "meh"s at screenings, leading Reinert and his collaborators back to the drawing board, reconcieving the project.
Hence, Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks was born, honoring Eno and his compatriots' original vision. It was better for it. With respect to the relative majesty of For All Mankind, Apollo captures the imagination of spacefaring on an innate level more powerfully than any imagery can hope to.
Somehow, Eno managed to capture what simply feels like the moon through his reliably subtle sounds. Naturally, he wasn't alone in the process. Daniel Lanois, more known in the (apologies) Eno-verse as co-producing U2's best work, joined the Apollo sessions, as did Eno's own brother, Roger.
The process was dense and laborious, with Eno taking inspiration from a typically, radically diverse set of arenas, all while bending and reversing every possible technique and idea to result in a truly unique concoction befitting how he envisioned man's first romp on the moon.
All this doesn't do much to describe the majesty of the actual majesty of the music. While Music For Airports still often gets the most love and attention, aside from On Land, Apollo is the Eno ambient masterpiece that feels the most urgent in the genre's current landscape.
By turns distant and unknowable, fleeting and eerie, and even serenely gorgeous, Apollo found Eno continuing to toy with, and reach for the edges of, a sound he himself perfected. Try as acolytes might, nothing has ever quite sounded like Apollo aside from itself. It's been used in film after film, spotlighted in the damn Olympics, and sampled by Burial, yet nothing can distract from its own impact. inimitable as it often is inscrutable, the album stands out of time, never ageing, forever seeming to beam in from a future just out of reach. Much like the event it memorializes, forever there may it stay.