With Musk’s Space-X have finally gotten off the ground without abruptly falling back to it, even if it did blow up a few minutes later, and all the talk of going back to the Moon to make sure it really isn’t made of green cheese, and putative trips to Mars in the offing, I reckon a lot of kids want to be astronauts again. If they’ve got a death wish, that is.
As Major Tom discovered many decades ago it’s pretty lonely when you’re sitting in your tin can, far above the Earth, and loneliness is the subject of this instrumental four-part, 12-minute EP from Mildfire, who describe themselves as being “born out of glitter and self-loathing.”
It’s a subject they evidently take seriously, asking their listeners to learn how to befriend the condition – perhaps they are anticipating more lockdowns – but also to be there for others who are lonely and do not have the personal tools to cope with it.
Each of the four tracks in the ‘How to be an Astronaut EP’ – which follows on very soon after thei October 2023 debut EP ‘Drinking Salt Water’ – (or “a work in four acts” as they describe it) is quite different from the others. The first is “tender piano squeaks and electronic beats”. If I was trying to make a story out of it I’d describe this blandly as flight preparation mode, the mounting tension indicated by the rising volume.
The third is all folky, a merry mandolin plying its trade as they gently coast their way through the heavens, while the fourth is about as ambiently electronic as it gets. If Eno was writing music for airports, this is for bobbing around peacefully in the ocean waiting for that rescue helicopter to turn up after you’ve just been fried and crushed during re-entry. Definite shades of Sandra Bullock crawling onto that beach at the end of ‘Gravity.’
Part 2 is the really interesting track for me. It’s advertised as “prog rock explosions.” As a follower of 70s prog I’m always keen to discover what is happening in that genre these days. It turns out to be the sort of prog-jazz fusion thing that Eberson does so well. Again, putting a story to it, this is lift off and exiting the Earth’s atmosphere and all the cacophony of sounds, motions and energy that goes with it.
For this EP the quartet collective was joined by Lyder Øvreås Røed (Fieh) and Magnus Joelson (BenReddik) on trumpet and trombone and between them they have concocted a minor work of art, rich in its variety.
No kidding. I’m itching to know what a full album would sound like.
‘How to be an Astronaut EP’ was released on 17th November.
Sample track: Part 2.
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