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2023/4 Albums Thing 284 - Public Service Broadcasting “The Race For Space”

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I was told about this album by my brother, Miles. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a fascination with space, astronomy and sci-fi and Milo’s description of “The Race For Space” convinced me to buy it.

Working with sound samples again from the British Film Institute, the album tells the story of the US/USSR space race from 1957–1972. It begins with President Kennedy’s speech at Rice University on 12th September 1962 when he announced “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth”, the speech that fired the starting gun on the race for space.

The album then takes you through that space race, from the launch of “Sputnik” to the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin, cosmonaut Alexei Leonov’s first spacewalk in “E.V.A” to the tragic disaster of Apollo 1 in “Fire In The Cockpit” and then the radio silence as Apollo 8 disappears behind the moon in “The Other Side” and you literally hold your breath waiting for them to reappear. 

There’s tribute to Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, the pure danceable euphoria of “Go” as all the flight controllers at Mission Control confirm they are ready for Apollo 11 to land on the Moon (“RETRO? “GO!”, FIDO? “GO!” GUIDANCE? “GO!”, CONTROL? “GO!”). It all finishes with “Tomorrow”, based around the words of Gene Cernan (the last man to walk on the Moon) as he steps off the surface to begin Apollo 17’s journey home.

“The Race For Space” is a superbly constructed story and a must if you have any interest in music and space.

The Other Side - https://youtu.be/fIuSq5nAUSQ?si=Zkmi0QNwrgmDu0ma

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