I’ve been thinking a lot about co-operation recently.
On the micro level, there are a few reasons for this. I was recently involved in a production of “Romeo & Juliet,” maybe the most famous parable of love destroyed by division and hatred. Also, my wife and I are expecting our second child, and I’ve been wondering how our first will react to the idea of sharing attention and time and energy.
I’ve even been debating whether or not to spell “co-operation” with a hyphen. I know that seems petty and word-nerdy, but without the hyphen the first part of the word really looks like “cooper” to me. And when you think about it, what is the hyphen if not a grammatical collaborator?
But on the macro level, my thoughts about co-operation have been prompted by the current political narrative, which seems to revolve around confrontation and opposition. In the increasingly divided and antagonistic world that is 2017, your hope for the future might be directly related to your belief in humanity’s ability to co-operate.
If you need a historical example of co-operation against all odds, the Apollo-Soyuz mission of 1975 might be what you’re looking for. The fact that American and Soviet astronauts undertook a ‘handshake in space’ at the height of the Cold War is pretty incredible. Yes, it might have been largely symbolic, but it was also very bold. Can you imagine the finger-pointing and international chaos that might have erupted if the mission had ended in disaster?
It was a pretty cool, but now largely forgotten, moment in global co-operation. Enter musician (and producer) Michael Chambers’ thoughtful and ethereal solo project, moon:and:6, whose first album provides a beautiful soundtrack for the history of American space travel.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. The audio samples, which are actual NASA soundbites. They include both Russian and English voices, and give the listener the chance to hear what it sounds like when someone from Texas tries to pronounce the name “Alexei.”
2. The piano and bass share a melodic line. Sharing is nice.
3. Speaking of that main melody, it reminds me very strongly of the piano line in this song. It’s even in the same key. The two tracks would make a great mash-up…which is kind of like the ultimate musical co-operation, isn’t it?
Recommended listening activity:
Burying the hatchet. Together.