Apollo - Paul Rijkens

Dutchman Michel van Osenbruggen is a big fan of Jean Michel Jarre which he calls his all-time hero. The influences of the French grandmaster can be heard well in Michel’s (what’s in a name…) music. For his conceptual ideas, Michel draws upon many items. For “Apollo” he was inspired by the Apollo Moon missions, undertaken by NASA during the 60’s and 70’s of the previous century. Since Michel was born in 1969, the same year that Neil Amstrong set foot on the Moon, he had always felt a very strong connection to this event. Listening to this album will take you on a voyage from the Earth to the Moon and back again. Many of the astronauts that actually took this journey have stated that they went up there to discover the Moon, yet really discovered Earth. Before Apollo, no one had ever traveled far enough away to actually see the whole planet in one view. Pictures of that beautiful blue marble floating in space have become famous the world over and have made mankind feel more interconnected than ever before. In Michel’s opinion, the Moon landings represent human’s greatest technological achievement up to date. On his website www.synth.nl a film, made by Michel himself, can be seen about the project.

The music from Michel is very imaging, like telling a story in music but without using words. On “Apollo” he tells the amazing journeys of the Apollo missions. The albums “launches” with “Launchpad” in which we hear historical spoken words. A great analog (sounding) solo is played here. Michel cleverly mixes the music of his great hero Jarre with that of other electronic musicians. In “Staging” can be heard that he works together with his fellow-Dutchman Ron Boots and in “Orbit”  and “Earthrise” the grandeur of Vangelis is very present. But Jarre comes by every now and then, for instance in “Apollo 9” (just listen to some of the rhythms that a reminiscent of the ones in “Oxygene”). The big rhythms from Michel earlier albums are used in “Apollo 11” as well as “Reentry”. It all comes to an impressive epilogue in “Splashdown”.

What Michel does on his albums is a great thing, mixing wonderful and rather easy accessible electronic music with intriguing concepts. This is the perfect combination.

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