July 22, 2019
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, we’re listening to the score from Apollo 11. The documentary is amazing, and its score plays a big role. Matt Morton, the modular synth enthusiast who composed the score, used only instruments available in 1969, including the Moog IIIc and Binson Echorec 2. Morton’s album opens with a big bang, consisting of synth hits that evoke the explosions of fuel at a rocket ship’s liftoff. Thereafter the album is a collection of thoughtful synth loops that are methodical and intense, like the astronauts and mission controllers of Apollo 11 itself. (Just beware the sudden crescendo on “Liftoff and Staging.”) For readers more tolerant of vocals, we’ve also included the playlist of songs that accompanied Apollo 11 astronauts in the capsule on a Sony TC-50 cassette recorder. The Apollo 11 documentary has footage of Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins playing one of these songs on that recorder – John Stewart’s “Mother Country” – as they hurtle toward earth.
Good luck today.