"Original Soundtracks 1" - Passengers


Track Listing:

Bonus Tracks:

Background Information

“Original Soundtracks 1” was a 1995 studio album recorded by U2 and Brian Eno under the band name, Passengers. The album also featured additional passengers, Howie B, Pavarotti, and Holi. The original gestation of the project was to compose a soundtrack for the film “The Pillow Book” by British director Peter Greenaway which was due for a 1996 release. The soundtrack never came together, and the only U2 music used in the film is “Daddy’s Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car”. Recording had started in November 1994 over a two week period that had yielded a lot of material and a general direction for the project. When they parted ways with the film, Eno suggested they continue recording for imaginary films. There were exceptions and songs from the album were used in “Ghost in the Shell”, “Miss Sarajevo” and “Beyond the Clouds”. The band worked on hours of jam sessions, and then brought in producer Howie B to cut down some of the tracks, and do some mixes. The album is probably the least known in U2’s catalog due to releasing this project under the Passengers name, but over the years songs from this project have appeared on compilations under the U2 name, suggesting the band do consider it a U2 release. The album was recorded at Westside Studios in London, and Hanover Quay Studios in Dublin.

The release date for the album was November 6, 1995 in the UK and the following day in North America. The album was released on 5-inch CD and cassette in most regions. The album released in Japan contained a bonus track, to make the domestic release more popular in a region where import CDs were often cheaper than the domestically produced versions. The bonus track included was “Bottoms (Watashitachi No Ookina Yume)” which was released on the “Miss Sarajevo” single in other regions. A 12-inch vinyl was produced in the UK and in the USA.

The cover art for the album was not designed with usual designer, Steve Averill. Instead the design is based on a concept by Brian Eno and Cally and produced by Cally. Cally was the nickname of the art director for Island Records, Martin Callomon. The image used for the front cover illustration is by Teodor Rotreki. Rotrekl was a Czech illustrator and painter, and designer of a number of movie posters, science fiction book covers and the like. The illustration for the album cover is taken from the book “Six Days on Luna 1” from 1963 by Ivo Stuka.

Only one commercial single was released to promote the Passengers album, “Miss Sarajevo” which had been recorded with Pavarotti. The single was released on November 27, 1995, after the release of the album. A second single, “Your Blue Room” was readied, and promotional copies were released in the UK and Mexico, but a commercial single never materialized—possibly due to the low performance of the album and the first single. A promotional video for “Miss Sarajevo” was filmed and released well in advance of the album and the single. The single for “Miss Sarajevo” included two additional Passengers tracks, as well as a recording of Brian Eno, The Edge, and Bono performing “One” as part of the Pavarotti and Friends concert held that year.

In concert U2 has performed only two songs from Passengers, “Miss Sarajevo” and “Your Blue Room”. “Miss Sarajevo” was performed quite often on the Vertigo tour in 2005 / 2006, as well as the U2360° tour. “Your Blue Room” was soundchecked quite frequently during the first leg of the U2360° tour as it wound through Europe, but would not be performed live until the second night of the USA leg of the tour in 2009. A later performance of “Your Blue Room” would feature Sinéad O’Connor on vocals and would be released on the u2.com fan club gift album, “From the Ground Up”.

A number of songs from this album have been used in films. “Always Forever Now” was used in the film “Heat”, and an alternative version can be found on the soundtrack to that film. The track “Plot 180” can also be heard in one of the deleted scenes from the movie “Heat”. Wim Wenders’ film “Par-dela les nuages” or “Beyond the Clouds” features both “Your Blue Room” and “Beach Sequence” in the film. “Ghost in the Shell” featured the song “One Minute Warning”.
The album did not do very well in charts around the world. Some of the highest placements were New Zealand (9), Australia (11), and Canada (15, RPM Chart). IN the UK it peaked at 12, and in the US it peaked at 76 in the Billboard 200 chart.

The liner notes of the album go into detail about the fake films that these tracks are supposedly from. These notes were written by Eno, and the notes themselves contain a number of secret codes. The author of these notes in the booklet are listed as Ben O’Rian (an anagram of Brian Eno) and C.S.J. Bofop (each letter when substituted for the one prior in the alphabet spells Brian Eno as well.) Other hidden messages included in the booklet? “Peter von Heineken” is a joke on U2’s manager at the time, Paul McGuinness. “Venda Davis” is an anagram for David Evans (the Edge), “Tanya McLoad” becomes Adam Clayton, “Barry Boedders” becomes Des Broadbery (played sequencer on “Always Forever Now”), “Joseph Mamat” becomes James Topham (thanked in the liner notes) and “Kiley Sue LaLonne” becomes Anne-Louise Kelly (an employee at Principle Management). “Pi Hoo Sun” is a phonetic spelling of Bono’s real name “Paul Hewson”. And “Tony Corbin” is likely a reference to Anton Corbijn. It’s also been suggested that the line “The face of a child drawn on a melon” is a reference to Cosmo, the baby who is on the CD “Achtung Baby” and the front cover of “Zooropa”. And finally the name “Kobayashi” is actually the last name of the singer Holi who appears on the album, her full name being Akiko Kobayashi.

At various times there has been mention of a follow up project to “Original Soundtracks 1” – Brian Eno has talked a number of times about their having been a number of tracks recorded with Holi, which he hoped would someday come to light. Larry Mullen has gone on record as saying that this was his least favorite U2 project ever.

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