Machinefabriek: Apollo (3″ CD, Machinefabriek, January 2011)

There’s always something striking about the crackly, distant sound of astronaut’s radio conversations. I suppose it’s the way they sound so calm, prosaic even, exchanging well-rehearsed formulae and all the time you half expect them to crack and shout “holy crap, I’m in space!”. Also, there’s the iconic status of the Apollo programme in the history of television, the momentous life-or-death drama playing out live in every living room. It’s not surprising that music should borrow this — famously, the form of words was used by David Bowie on Space Oddity, and I suppose the first prominent use of the actual sounds I can think of would be Lemon Jelly’s Space Walk.

Machinefabriek has taken an altogether more immersive approach. This music apparently started out as the soundtrack for a work called In Your Star by experimental Japanese film-maker Makino Takashi. It is released here on a limited edition 3″ CD (mine says it is number 16 of 100). It opens with a typically deadpan sample from, presumably, an Apollo astronaut. The next twenty minutes take us on a journey through gently mutating static, suitably outer-atmospheric chiming tones, building to a huge fuzzy humming climax, which is abruptly shut off leaving us drifting quietly away. It’s pretty intense, but I also find it strangely comforting. I feel privileged to own this.
I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Home Listening / Modern Classical / Ambient.

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