Stream the entire album on Soundcloud.
Engaged in an exploration between recorded electronic and live acoustic sound, the innovative 12-piece ensemble Icebreaker and renowned pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole present their "moving and sublime" performance of Brian Eno's Apollo in a definitive and invigorating recording.
Widely regarded as Brian Eno's best and most influential ambient album, Apollo was composed by Brian Eno, Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois for Al Reinert's 1983 documentary on the Apollo space missions, For All Mankind. Eno jokingly referred to it as an attempt to write "zero gravity country and western", since that was the astronauts' preferred on-board listening and the long reverberations of the pedal steel guitar evoke the vast emptiness of space. Music from the album was also used in the movies 28 Days Later, Traffic, and Trainspotting.
Apollo, originally conceived and commissioned in 2009 by the Science Museum, London, commemorates the 40th anniversary of the moon landings. The original concept revolved around restoring a wordless film entirely accompanied by music and thus involved reimagining an electronic work for live performers. South Korean composer, Woojun Lee, achieved this through his arrangement, returning the music to its original conception: matching the mesmerizing beauty and tranquil mystery of images of the moon and Earth, the dizzying scale and humbling feat of engineering involved in taking people to the moon, and capturing the humor of the astronauts as they skitter about on the moon's surface.
With support from Brian Eno, the recording of Apollo by Icebreaker with BJ Cole was completed following a series of sold out and highly acclaimed live performances of the piece, including the IMAX cinema at the Science Museum on July 20th and 21st 2009. Each performance is accompanied by NASA footage of the landing.
Apollo delivers 52 minutes of transcendently lovely music, mysterious soundscapes, eerie electronics and the sweet lilt of pedal steel guitar, a combination that feels almost as if it were the very sound of the cosmos itself.
More information available HERE.
NY Daily News: Top 10 in Music for the Week of June 10
"...a sumptuous reinterpretation of Eno's ambient album about space (from the '80s) lends it an earthier allure."
NPR: Analog For Astronauts: An Ambient Classic Reimagined
"...Lee and Icebreaker's new instrument choices are creative. The insistent three-note descending theme in The Secret Place, originally a reverberant synth tone, is replaced by breathy panpipes. And in the excellent An Ending (Ascent) II, the simple repeated melody, so infused with yearning, is beautifully rendered with a blend of flutes, accordion and Cole's searching pedal steel... This new version of Apollo leans heavily toward the listenable, with more than enough to delight the ears many times over."
Tiny Mix Tapes: Icebreaker and BJ Cole figuratively caress Brian Eno's bald head with Apollo re-imagining
"...the Icebreaker/BJ Cole Apollo is inherently a different beast, with the presence of various instruments (most notably, the pedal steel) being quite apparent, and their unprocessed sound marking a contrast between it and the distinctly fuller (and less airy) Eno version. Don't take my word for it though; check out the blissful preview."
New York Music Daily: A Brian Eno Classic Live in Concert
"A lush, mesmerizing piece of music...Icebreaker's new arrangement enhances the hypnotic, enveloping, raptly warm ambience of the original, giving it a more organic feel...Who is the audience for this? For one, the next generation of kids who're just now discovering Floyd and the rest of the art-rock pantheon, along with anybody who was there for that stuff the first time around and who might have missed this - and for that matter, anyone looking for hypnotic, gently atmospheric music to get completely and absolutely lost in."