Reviews

Icebreaker International and Manual

In 1983 ambient composer Brian Eno released Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundscapes with his brother Roger and protégé Daniel Lanois. It's an album about the moon that they composed for Al Reinert's documentary, For All Mankind. Reinert's film uses NASA footage from various Apollo missions, and the accompanying soundtrack is three virtuosos dreamily jamming along to visions of lunar flight. The Enos simulate weightlessness with smooth washes of synthesizers and keyboards, while Lanois drifts in with the space-cowboy psychedelics of his pedal steel guitar. Outer space metaphors are abundant in music but Apollo may be the only album of the last twenty years sanctioned by an actual space agency.

Into Forever, a collaborative album from New York conceptual artist Icebreaker International and Danish guitarist and electronic music composer Manual, updates the trio's formula with a twist. Into Forever is an unmistakable descendant of Apollo, though gooey baby coos pop up on several tracks and the guitars sound more like those of British shoegazers Slowdive than "dark star" Jerry Garcia. The twist? Like millionaire "space tourist" Dennis Tito before them, they've allegedly hired a Russian space agency to transport their ethereal planetarium soundtrack to a distant nebula, where its floating guitars and layered synthesizers will be broadcast to the stars. Though potentially an interesting exercise in the commercialization of interstellar bandwidth, the launch date for this flight isn't scheduled until 2011, meaning Into Forever must first pass muster with terrestrial listeners as an enjoyable sequel to Eno's classic lunar meditation.

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Daniel Chamberlin