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Moonrockin’ the Science Museum

Universal hit: Apollo astronauts took country music into space Credit: Nasa

By James Dacey

Question: What do David Bowie, U2, Coldplay and London’s Science Museum have in common?

Answer: They’ve all been given the “Eno treatment”.

Since quitting the art-rock group Roxy Music in the early 1970s the English musician / musical theorist / political commentator has become one of the most revered names in pop music, collaborating with some of the biggest names in the business. Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno — as his extended name goes — is well-known for consistently pushing the boundaries of music. Many of his albums are fused with the concepts and ideals of minimalist art and his name has become a by-word for pretty much any interesting electronic music.

In 1980 Eno worked with his brother Roger and Canadian guitarist Daniel Lanois to create the ambient album Apollo. Inspired by hearing that some of the astronauts on the Apollo missions had taken recordings of country music with them into space, Eno set out to record a concept album of “zero-gravity country music”. My own ears have never been treated to this ambient delight but my muso colleague describes it as “alien noise that perfectly captures the spirit of the Apollo missions”.

Now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Eno has collaborated with South Korean composer Jun Lee to perform a special arrangement of the album at the London Science Museum. The shows took place on Monday and Tuesday and the music was accompanied by original footage of the Moon landings assembled by director Al Reinert projected onto the giant screen of the Science Museum IMAX cinema.

It’s not yet clear if Eno will be repeating this show in any other venues but I will keep my ears to the ground for any ambient murmurings and let you know…

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