Neil Young once sang “An ambulance can only go so fast” (found on ‘Ambulance Blues’). Such knowledge is accurate, but probably the worst thing that can happen to a person. To understand this, is to understand there will always be bodies, always be horror, and all of us just onlookers gazing at the wreck. Wondering what could’ve been done, when we all know deep down, life is just one bloody thing after another.
Brian Eno’s Apollo is looking at life in the face. And just showing us what he sees. It’s an entirely instrumental album. Nine songs of tranquility. But there’s a catch. It’s serene, but with a faint black wave vibration, something that makes sure to let us know everything feels beautiful. And the stars above look amazing…unfortunately it all signifies something sadder, something more bleak that we can choose to embrace, or ignore. That’s the genius of Apollo. It brings us to infinity and back, but doesn’t care where we end up.
But really, there is no point in overthinking this album. It exists in a beautiful place full of sunbeams and wildflowers. A place where everything is distilled to its most simple form, and time probably does move somewhere, but the moments remove you from that reality. Really, this approaches the formal clarity and abstraction of classical music, but processed through a vision of delicacy and purposefulness. Everything tends to melt away on Apollo – the kicker is, the noise gives way to embattled puzzlement, which eventually just caves into a damaged elegance.
The progression isn’t really noticeable. In fact nothing on Apollo will alert you to anything really. It exists, so you don’t have to. It’s not a kaleidoscope album, I don’t listen to it and feel like I’m viewing the world through a myriad of superimposed colors and shapes. Instead, it proves to us we don’t really care about pursuing any tripped out view of our world. Apollo is a safe passage into liberation. It’s available to all of us – we just have to stop looking for madness. There is something we can hold onto, and it doesn’t require any revolution or internal rebellion shoving us into new places. Just smile at the fact that Apollo doesn’t require any of that. Everything may be a war zone, but they can’t hit you. Not from here.