This was originally posted at my Scientific American blog.
Today’s Monday Music Video is not a music video per se, but instead features three songs from a soundtrack to an excellent movie about the Apollo missions.
Evoking a sense of weightlessness and other-worldliness is an intuitive goal for most music on videos, movies, and TV programs featuring space and space travel. No one has created this type of music more beautifully than ambient music composer, Brian Eno.
Film-maker Al Reinert needed music for his documentary, For All Mankind (1989), about the moon landings which had been painstakingly edited down from endless reels of NASA footage. Most (but not all) of the songs from the soundtrack come from Apollo (do read the review of the album at that link), an ambient “library” album that was made in 1983 by Brian, his brother Roger, and Canadian guitarist-producer Daniel Lanois.
Let’s hear from Brian Eno at the Brighton Festival 2010 on “Apollo: This is for all Mankind” (listen through 1:30).
The next video is the last few minutes from For All Mankind, It features a song by Brian’s brother, Roger, called “Quioxte” from the album “Music for Film III”. The credits then roll to Brian’s most excellent ambient song “An Ending (Ascent)”. Note that the video is titled only after “Ascent” but this is misleading.
For All Mankind was (deservedly) nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1990.
“The focus of the documentary is on the human views of the space flights, and the original mission footage is provided along with the voices of the astronauts, from interviews and from the actual mission recordings. Among those providing narration are Jim Lovell, Michael Collins, Charles Conrad, Jack Swigert, and Ken Mattingly.” (Wikipedia)
Interestingly, on learning that some of the astronauts took recordings of country music with them into space, Eno included some “zero-gravity country music”. Listen here:
The above video is of value for the song Weightless, not as a video, since the image remains static.
To listen and chill to “Ascent”, play this next video. There are several homemade videos with the tune, so I chose one at random for your listening pleasure.
Image of For All Mankind DVD cover courtesy of Wikipedia