An Ending (Ascent)

Yesterday’s post held many thoughts, and one element of it, the Moon, is still high in the sky of my consciousness.

Last month I posted “Capsule” from the Brian Eno/Roger Eno/Daniel Lanois album, Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks – Extended Edition (please check out the post for more about the album and the documentary film For All Mankind the trio produced it for). I’m returning to that album today as I heard “An Ending (Ascent)” this morning while surfing on YouTube.

I feel like the composers meant the piece to mark the moment when the Apollo 11 lunar module ascended from the Moon’s surface to rendezvous with the command module and return the crew home to Earth. The dreaming, adventure, and historical significance of the mission are represented remarkably.

The track is an ethereal, heavenly-sounding piece and perhaps one of the album’s best know tracks. In a 2019 interview with Noisey, a host for documentaries about music, Brian Eno talks about the album and discusses the piece. At 12:25 in the clip he tells how, when the original track was not working out, he turned the tape upside down and played it backwards.

Earlier in that video, Roger Eno talks with anguish at remembering the Apollo 11 moon landing seemed to have the potential as a moment to bring humanity together (similar to what Petula Clark sings of in yesterday’s “The World Song”). Sadly, it didn’t, nor has any event since.

I recommend the Noisey video as it shares interesting discussion about the album. Canadian producer and musician Daniel Lanois tells that the three men worked remotely from each other, using email sharing of files to put together the second disc in the 2019 expanded version. 

The comments beneath the YouTube video for this song include many about the piece being used during the dying moments or at funerals of loved ones. I like the idea of this use of what one of the musicians refers to as a hymn-like piece. Maybe that idea is more prominent today, thinking of the death this week of a founding member of The Supremes, Mary Wilson (1944-2021).

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the video for the song from Brian Eno’s official YouTube channel:  

And the interview by Noisey:

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