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Vangelis - Beaubourg CD (album) cover




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2.55 | 89 ratings

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2 stars What do you get when you abandon all the conventions of music? When you toss aside rhythm, melody, and harmony? You get Beauborg, Vangelis' most unpleasant album. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it's the truth. Here, our eclectic master revisits some of the ideologies of his earlier recording, Hypothesis. His sound and his musicianship had matured, however, and electronic technology had improved. This one is not really Jazz, though. Rather, it is a complex composition in the style of program music; only here he brings in tonalities only possible with synthesizers. There are no drums or any other instrumentation. Without the standard hallmarks of music, what is there? Sound. Glaring, sharp sound. My beat-up vinyl lp, with all its distortions, somehow adds to the empty mood. To be sure, there are themes but there is very little the ear can latch onto. Beauborg is an aural assault that is not for the musically squeamish. No haunting melodies, no grandeur, no spatial tones. Many have asked me what this recording is all about because it seems random. In a way it is. In a way it isn't. It is a phenomenal work, but one I cannot highly recommend. I think that what Vangelis has done here was present to us a series of vignettes of city in the future, perhaps not too far off. The locale is artificial and life is hard. He brings us from one scene to another, often times with no warning as if we were walking along the street and suddenly thrust around a corner into a part of town so different we might think we were in a different city. These corners are not just at street level. We are whipped up along the faces of skyscrapers and latched onto flying vehicles, we plummet down into the bowels of the city, its sewers and its basements. We move from townhouse to penthouse to boiler rooms to factories. Nothing lasts for long. Nothing seems to fit together yet somehow it does. It is the order inherent in chaos, a moving and breathing contradiction of disparate interconnections. Yes, this is Beauborg.

Any Vangelis fan should listen to this every few years or so just to be reminded that this is an extremely adventurous artist and that he performs beautiful music because he wants to, not because that is the only thing he can do. I don't know anybody who likes this album, but as one person asked, "Then why is it always in your queue?" The rational critic in me cannot answer that question, but the musical adventurer can, and he doesn't talk much - he only listens.

Progosopher | 2/5 |


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