Prog folk-rock music from Scotland
July 2009 saw the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. April 12th is the world space party for Yuri’s Night. Arbelos plays space folk. It seemed like a good fit and here we have a mini-album expressing the feelings of the Arbelos team about growing up in the post-Apollo era, waiting for the promises to come true.
The story, for us, began in November 2008, when Mark wrote his first ever Christmas single (and pop song) ‚ We’re Going To The Moon For Christmas‚ which did pretty well amongst the internet’s Christmas revellers, listened to by over 16,000 sets of ears on Myspace. However, an apparently silly Christmas song was commemorating the first flight that got to the Moon; Apollo 8 in December 1968. From there the whole band got involved and started creating their own musical impressions of being Apollo’s Children.
Rhythm guitarist Noel took the broad approach and considered where we expected to be by now when we looked forward from the heady days of Apollo. This gave us the great album opener, We Won’t Find Monsters. So why aren’t we taking holidays on Mars, now? Go and ask the politicians.
New man, guitarist Ken, wanted to celebrate the triumph of the Moon landings and gave us One Small Step. Try dancing to this and you’ll find out how hard it was to walk on the Moon, with all the inertia of a full space suit and 1/6 gravity. You’ll find it on track 3.
Trying to get into the mind of an Apollo astronaut, Noel considered the quiet times on the voyage. What was it like to try and sleep in an Apollo Command Module on the way to the Moon. The result is the keyboard instrumental Between. Mark couldn’t resist floating along too adding the bass, but Noel’s keyboards tell the whole story of dozing and listening to the sounds of the ship. This beautiful instrumental nicely divides the album’s two acts.
In a previous incarnation as a Physics lecturer, Mark used to use the video of David Scott dropping a hammer and a feather on the Moon to demonstrate the principals of gravity as discovered by Galileo. Such is his enthusiasm for this that The Hammer And The Feather, sprung fully-formed from his spaced-out head. This is all Mark right down to the last ukulele chord and the rest of the band apologise for letting him get away with it.
Then Mark and Ken got together to drive their lunar rover across the plains. Celebrating the more extended exploratory missions of Apollos 15, 16 and 17, Mark came up with the lyrics of The Lunar Rover Song, and Ken set them to some extraordinarily proggy music. Feel the ups and downs of the bouncing lunar rover as the song switches back and forth between playful nursery rhyme and heavy cosmic musings.
In addition to his interest in old Apollo movie footage, Mark also has a fondness for old whaling songs. But in the 21st century, the whaling songs have passed their sell-by date. The songs of travelling to desolate lands far away chime with the experience of the Apollo astronauts flying to the desolate lunar landscape, and Mark has breathed new life into the song ‚Fareweel Tae Tarwathie‚ by adapting it as a true space folk song called Farewell To Tranquillity. Where the old whalers were keen to get back home from Greenland, the Apollo astronauts were keen to get back out to the Moon, and the wistful farewell of Gene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, is given musical voice in our final track.