I was waiting this one for quite a while. Their previous album, “Dude Descending a Staircase” was released in 2003, nine f*cking years is over an eternity in music industry nowadays. Kids of today probably have not even the memories of “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Dub” as probably they don’t have a clue who the fuck is Eddie Van Halen! Still and unsurprisingly, Apollo 440 (alternately known as Apollo Four Forty or @440) came back with a powerful and fresh album, the trendy dubstep frequency oscilation and bass wobblings are incorporated into their noisy electronics and rocking construction, and definitively they delivered – once again – a mandatory killer album.
Their name comes from the Greek god Apollo and the frequency of concert pitch — the A note at 440 Hz, often denoted as “A440”, and the Sequential Circuits sampler/sequencer, the Studio 440.
Since forming in 1990 Apollo have written, recorded and produced 4 albums, collaborated with and produced other artists, remixed as Apollo 440 and as ambient cinematic alter-ego Stealth Sonic Orchestra, and created music for film, tv, ads and multimedia including movie themes “Lost In Space” and “Charlie’s Angels”. During their eleven years at Sony, 1993-2004, they notched up 11 Top 40 UK Singles with three Top 10s, and had a chart presence worldwide.
To date Apollo’s Remixes number around 60 – from U2 in the early ’90s to Puff Daddy/Jimmy Page and Ennio Morricone a decade later. Apollo’s version of Puretone’s Addicted To Bass was made the lead track and became a huge hit in 2002. Amongst their Stealth Sonic Orchestra Remixes are a series of Manic Street Preachers singles.
Collaborators over the years have included Jeff Beck, Jean Michel Jarre, Billy Mackenzie, Ian McCulloch and Hotei (of Kill Bill soundtrack fame).
Over 50 different Apollo tracks have featured repeatedly on movies, trailers, tv, games and ads worldwide, the latter including globally branded cars, beers, soft drinks, phones, audio and software. They have also written two entire soundtracks for Sony PlayStation and provided the theme tunes for ITV World Cup ’98 and Formula 1 (series 2000-2002) coverage as well as Liverpool F.C’s Official 2006 FA Cup song.
Apollo 440 have always played live with a number of different line-ups. In the very early days the late legendary MC Stevie Hyper-D featured on guest vocals. In 1994 the basic trio of founding members Noko, Howard and Trevor were for the first time joined by Cliff. Between 1997 and 2000 they then toured extensively round the world as an eight piece live band, including 2 drummers and now joined by Mary Byker (Vocals), Harry K (DJ & Vocals), Paul Kodish (Drums) and Rej (Bass).
(The opening verses – “Lets go back to the rock… And see it at four-forty” – are a play on words based on an exact quote, and actual sample taken from the 1971 movie “The Andromeda Strain.”)
01 – Stay Frosty
02 – The Future’s What It Used to Be
03 – Smoke & Mirrors
04 – Stealth Cantorum
05 – A Deeper Dub
06 – Love Is Evil
07 – Odessa Dubstep
08 – Motorbootee
09 – Traumarama
10 – Fuzzy Logic
11 – Music Don’t Die
By the releases of their new album Apollo 440 will return with more live dates. The 2011 live line-up features founding members Noko (Guitar), Howard (FOH Vibe Controller) and Trevor Gray (Keyboards), plus frontman and long-time collaborator Ewan Macfarlane, who sings on the new album. Original A440 drummer Cliff Hewitt is once again the main man behind the kit with Ashley Krajewski on Keyboards/Samples and Mikey Cusick on Bass guitar.
Can compare it to Asian Dub Foundation, to Pop Will Eat Itself or even further to The Prodigy or Subsource.
“Stay Frosty” opening the album in a disturbing, noisy and modern manner, definitively this is a statement of they are not outdated and don’t intend to recycling their own past and sound. “The Future’s What It Used to Be” it’s definitively anthematic, might be the very next “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Dub” or “Krupa”. Dubstep sounds are incorporated in their aggressively rocking sound and it’s just a murderous and pulsing track as 2012 demand it. The chorus is smoother than expected, but quite sticky. It’s impossible not to love it, not to jump around and banging. “Smoke & Mirrors” kicks in with some mad keys and it’s a dirty mixture of funk and disco, rock pulse and electronic noises. “Stealth Cantorum” is only a 10 seconds bridge to “A Deeper Dub”, the leading single of the album and a great construction of dub, rock and electronica into a modern club (or stadium) anthem. Somehow Apollo 440 have a very tasty and classy charm, but a cutting edge vibe.
“Love Is Evil” is a tricky blues track with chill and psychedelic spices added in a quite electric build-up. It’s an extremely tasty song. “Odessa Dubstep” is a collision of dub and space rock with modern and dense sound, a swirling trip into a colorful universe of rock pulse and oscillating electronic sounds. “Motorbootee” is a crazy and pumping rock track with funk aromas and smooth electronica, actually this one of their new anthematic, possible hits. “Traumarama” have a leading riff which might fit perfectly into any ZZ Top album while the chorus sounds quite pop (rock), eventually reminds me of Cars. Refreshing and unexpected merging of genres – as usually. “Fuzzy Logic” is another mysterious trip down to minimalist electronica, progressive/space taste-like rock and classy aromas of the 70s mixed up with chill electronic layers. But when the riff came in… well, just wait and hear! The closing “Music Don’t Die” have a leading key line with roots back to The Who. Actually “The Future’s What It Used to Be” have all over a kind of very classic rock vibe, sometimes it’s hidden by the massive and modern electronic build-ups, but it’s always there and it seems fresher then any other shit nowadays bands and self or media proclaimed artists delivering.
Released on 30th January 2012, this is definitively one of the greatest albums of the year!
I said a million times: Lets go back to the rock! Now we’ve got it!
Apollo 440 – Official Site
Apollo 440 @ MySpace
Apollo 440 @ Facebook
Apollo 440 @ Twitter
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[…] to a raging Green Day then to The Exploited, but still managed to keep their cutting edge sharp. Apollo 440 – The Futures What It Used to Be (2012) I was waiting this one for quite a while. Their previous album, “Dude Descending a Staircase” […]